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$4.6 Billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Construction Negotiations Resume

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project negotiations have been revived as the three countries of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt have just recently resumed negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is currently constructing on the main tributary of the Nile River. The resumption of the negotiation talks came about just after the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed and the President of Egypt Abel Fattah al-Sisi stated in the previous month that they both had an aim of reaching an agreement on the operation of the $4.6 billion project that is situated on the Blue Nile.

Egypt currently fears a devastating impact that might be brought about by the dam if it starts operating without taking its needs as a country into account and has referred to it as an existential threat. The country relies almost entirely on the Nile to provide water to a population of more than 100 million people and for agricultural purposes. It is also approximated that 85% of the flow of the river comes from Ethiopia.

Also read: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project

Egyptian Irrigation Ministry made an official announcement on the new phase of negotiation talks that are being held in the city of Cairo and said that they demand a legally binding agreement that would provide for how the dam would be operated and filled.  The Irrigation Minister of Egypt Hani Sewilam stated that there were numerous “technical and legal solutions” for the dispute in place without giving more details.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Construction Negotiation Major Issues

The major question in place here still remains on how much amount of water would be released downstream by Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam just in case a multi-year drought is experienced and how the three countries would get to resolve future disputes that could arise among themselves. However, Ethiopia still holds on to the fact that the dam is essential supporting the argument by stating that most of its citizens lack electricity in their homes.

On the other hand, Sudan wants Ethiopia to cooperate and share data on how the dam would be conducting its operations in order to avoid flooding and to protect the hydroelectric power dams that it has set up on the Blue Nile. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is situated at a distance of just 10 kilometers from the border of Sudan.

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