BEIRUT (Sputnik) – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have resumed negotiations over Addis Ababa’s contentious Great Renaissance Dam under the auspices of the African Union (AU), media reported Sunday.
Talks between the thee African neighbors over the dam’s potential of affecting downstream water security have been suspended for one month as no breakthrough was reached in previous rounds.
According to Egyptian publication Ahram, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aty will participate in the negotiations.
The resumption of talks was spearheaded by South Africa in its capacity as chair of the African Union and seeks to explore Sudan’s initiative to give AU experts a greater role, the outlet reported.
The European Union, which acts as an observer to the negotiations, issued a statement welcoming the restart of talks.
Sudan’s Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources said in a tweet after the conclusion of the talks that the parties agreed to another meeting on January 10.
The ministry also expressed hopes that the talks conclude before the end of January as South Africa is set to transfer its chairmanship of the AU to the Democratic Republic Congo in February.
“Hopefully, negotiations will be concluded by the end of January and before the end of the presidency of South Africa for the session of the African Union,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Tensions between Cairo and Addis Ababa have recently seen an uptick. Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spokesman and former ambassador to Egypt Dina Mufti said that Egypt sought to paint Ethiopia as the cause of internal issues, which prompted Egypt to summon Ethiopia’s charges d’affaires in Cairo to express protest.
Since 2011, Ethiopia has poured around $4.3 billion into constructing the dam on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile. The dam is envisioned to be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa and give Ethiopia an energy surplus, making it an exporter to the energy-scarce neighboring countries. On again off again talks with Sudan and Egypt over the decade have failed to bring about a compromise.