Egypt withdraws from latest Nile dam talks amid disagreements


Egypt has temporarily withdrawn from the renewed talks on the future of a giant hydropower project on the Nile River being built by Ethiopia.


The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is being built about 15km (nine miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, has become a major issue between the three countries.


Sudan has also threatened to withdraw from the talks, saying Ethiopia is insisting on linking them to renegotiating a deal on sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.


Egypt fears the $4bn project could lead to water shortages upstream, while Sudan said it is concerned about the dam's safety.


Sudan's Water and Irrigation Minister, Yasser Abbas, said he received a letter from his Ethiopian counterpart with the proposal.


Egypt and Sudan invoke a "historic right" over the river guaranteed by treaties concluded in 1929 and 1959.


But Ethiopia uses a treaty signed in 2010 by six riverside countries and boycotted by Egypt and Sudan authorising irrigation projects and dams on the river.


The Sudanese minister said Ethiopia proposed "the deal under discussion be limited to filling up the dam and any deal concerning its management be linked to the question of sharing Blue Nile waters."


The call came after a meeting of technical and legal committees from the three countries aimed at pushing for a deal on the filling and operation of the GERD.


The meeting was also attended by observers from the United States and the European Union as well as experts from the African Union.

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