Cairo: Eleven days of talks on Ethiopia's contested Nile dam ended without an agreement, Egypt's Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources said, the latest stall in a long-running dispute over the mega-project.
On July 3, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan started online African Union-sponsored negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as part of a years-long negotiating process.
At the end of the talks, water ministers of the three countries agreed to present a final report to South Africa, the incumbent president of the African Union ahead of holding a mini-summit on the dispute. the ministry said late Monday.
The leaders’ gathering is expected to be held in a week’s time, Egyptian media reported.
Egyptian officials have blamed Ethiopia for the deadlock.
“We adopted flexible stances and shown understanding of Ethiopia’s development needs [during negotiations],” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said.
He denied Ethiopia’s claims that Egypt wants to control the River Nile. “The Nile belongs to all its countries according to international laws, rights and obligations,” he told Egyptian television station Saada Al Balad.
He said that if the disagreement continues, final responsibility lies with the UN Security Council to handle the dispute. ”There is a draft resolution being discussed by the council’s members after the crisis was debated in the past few days,” Shoukri added.
Last month, Egypt requested the international body to intervene in the dispute.
The Ethiopian 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.