Sudan says latest Nile dam talks failed

ADDIS ABEBA – Sudan said Wednesday the latest round of talks with Egypt and Ethiopia over Addis Ababa’s controversial dam on the Blue Nile ended after they failed to make headway.

The negotiations, held over videoconference, kicked off Sunday and were meant to last a week in a renewed bid to end the long-running stalemate over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which broke ground in 2011.

Multiple rounds of talks have over the years failed to produce an agreement on the filling and operation of the vast reservoir behind the 145-meter tall hydropower barrage.

“Water ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to end this round of negotiations over Ethiopia’s Nile dam,” Sudan’s water ministry said in a statement, according to AFP news agency.

“This round… failed to make any tangible progress.”

During the talks, Sudan proposed granting a bigger role to African Union observers to help mediate, according to the ministry.

“Ethiopia accepted to expand the AU observers’ role… but Egypt rejected the proposal,” it said.

Ethiopia’s water Ministry said, as there nations were unable to reach a complete agreement on the agenda, the countries reached an understanding to resort to the chairperson of AU Executive council and, current chairperson of AU, South Africa to consult on the next steps of the talks.

The countries would also make their respective reports, according to the ministry of water.

Addis Abeba views the project as essential for its electrification and development, and insists that the flow of water downstream will not be affected.