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A source of water branching out of the Yusuf Canal, which flows from the Nile through Fayoum, in Qouta town, Egypt. Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies, including drinking water, industrial use and irrigation, fears a devastating impact if the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is operated without taking its needs into account. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Egypt has said that legal and technical disagreements drag on in its years-long dispute with Ethiopia over the latter’s contested Nile dam.

“A lack of consensus continues on several legal and technical points in a collective draft,” the Egyptian Water Ministry said, after a week of Africa Union-sponsored talks between experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Water ministers of the three countries held an online meeting on Friday.

The three countries have sought over the past week to draft a collective paper on their views and present it to the president of South Africa whose country is holding the rotating presidency of the African Union.

“After lengthy discussion about negotiations in the next period, the water ministers agreed at the end of the meeting that each country will send a letter to the president of South Africa presenting its vision on the next phase of negotiations,” the Egyptian ministry added.

Recent negotiations have been stymied over rules of filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

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

Ethiopia has repeatedly 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.