Sat 23 Sep 2023 5:38 pm - Jerusalem Time
A new round of negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Renaissance Dam
Ethiopia announced on Saturday that it had begun a second round of negotiations with Egypt and Sudan regarding the controversial Renaissance Dam that Addis Ababa built on the Nile River, and it remains a source of tension between the three countries.
On September 10, Ethiopia announced the completion of filling the Renaissance Dam, which sparked immediate condemnation from Cairo, which condemned the illegality of this step.
Egypt and Sudan consider the dam, which cost $4.2 billion, a threat to their water supplies. They have repeatedly asked Addis Ababa to stop filling it until an agreement is reached on how to operate it.
Negotiations between the three countries resumed on August 27 after stopping since April 2021.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed in July to finalize the agreement within four months.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on the X website on Saturday that “the second round of tripartite negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan regarding (...) the annual operation of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam began today, September 23, 2023, in Addis Ababa.”
She added, "Ethiopia is committed to finding a negotiated and amicable solution within the ongoing tripartite process."
The dam has been at the center of a regional dispute since Ethiopia began construction work in 2011.
Egypt considers the dam an existential threat because it depends on the Nile River to secure 97% of its water needs.
The dam is at the heart of Ethiopia's development plans, and in February 2022, Addis Ababa announced that it had begun generating electricity for the first time.
The large hydroelectric dam, which is 1.8 kilometers long and 145 meters high, is expected to produce more than 5,000 megawatts when operating at full capacity. This would double electricity production in Ethiopia, which currently supplies only half of the country's population of 120 million people.
The United Nations estimates that “Egypt could run out of water by 2025” and that areas in Sudan, where the conflict in Darfur was primarily linked to water supplies, are increasingly vulnerable to drought due to climate change.