Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok (right) receives Saudi Miniter of State for African Affairs Ahmed Al Qatan. Image Credit: Photo courtesy of Saudi Foreign Ministry

Cairo: Saudi Arabia is seeking to resolve a long-running dispute over a Nile dam, a Saudi official has said.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have held a series of on-and-off talks for about a decade to end the row over the Grand Ethiopian Reconnaissance Dam (GERD), without making headway so far.

Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed Al Qatan said in Khartoum that his country is seeking to resolve the dam in a way that preserves the rights of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al Awsat reported.

Al Qatan disclosed that upon directives of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Saudi meetings had been held with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al Sissi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Sudan Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia amid tensions with Addis Ababa over border and dam disputes.

“Saudi Arabia will continue its good office efforts to end the important and thorny Renaissance Dam file,” Al Qatan said after talks with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al Mahdi, meanwhile, warned against filling and operating the GERD without reaching a binding agreement.

Water needs

She renewed Sudan’s adherence to dialogue to reach a solution acceptable to the three riparian sides.

Egyptian officials have repeatedly blamed Addis Ababa for the deadlock in GERD talks.

The Ethiopian dam has triggered wide fears in Egypt, which relies heavily on the Nile to cover the water needs of its population of over 100 million people.

Ethiopia has denied Egyptians’ worries and defended its construction of the 5-billion-dollar dam as being vital for its development and lifting its population of around 107 million out of poverty.