A week after US President Donald Trump warned that Cairo could explode, if the disputes were not resolved, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia resumed talks on the Addis Ababa controversial dam on the Blue Nile.
The week-long talks began Sunday via video conference. It includes water ministers from three countries and representatives from the African Union, the European Union and the World Bank.
The latest talks come three months after talks between African neighbors stalled over Ethiopia’s $ 4.6 billion mega dam construction. Earlier three-way talks on filling and maintaining the vast reservoir behind the 145 m (475 ft) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GRD) failed.
The Egyptian dam, which relies on the Nile for 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water, appears to be an existential threat. “A six-member delegation, including two delegates from each country, agreed to continue the discussion on the issue for three years,” the Sudanese Ministry of Water said in a statement.
Millions of people have been warned of a “great danger” if Ethiopia unilaterally fills the dam.
Ethiopia considers the project necessary for electrification and development and argues that it will not affect downstream water flow.
He said the team would provide a “reference frame” on the role of experts in facilitating negotiations and would submit a report to the water ministers of the three countries by Wednesday.
Addis Ababa announced in July that it had reached its first year goal of filling a mega dam with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters (2,600 billion cubic feet).
Last month, US President Trump suggested that Egypt could destroy the mega dam, prompting Ethiopia to launch a “war”.
“This is a very dangerous situation, because Egypt will not live that way. They will stop the dam from bursting,” the U.S. leader said.
Egypt and Sudan, which have rejected Ethiopia’s arbitrary action, have long called for a political solution to the conflict. The Blue Nile rises in the highlands of Ethiopia and forms the longest river in the world, the White Nile, which flows from East Africa to the Sudanese capital Khartoum.