Negotiations over Ethiopia dam project break down

African Union announces failure of latest talks on Ethiopia's Nile Dam

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Sudan warned Sunday it can not continue the "vicious cycle" of negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia in the long-running dispute over Addis Ababa's controversial Blue Nile mega dam.

According to the Egyptian foreign ministry, the online meeting failed to achieve any progress due to the differences on how to resume the talks and the procedures related to the negotiations process.

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shouky and Minister of Irrigation and Water Sources Mohamed Abdel-Ati participated in the video conference talks.

Sudan previously expressed concern on resuming negotiations on the process of negotiations, as in a letter sent to the Minister of Cooperation of South Africa, that now chairs the African Union Commission, Sudan's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Yasir Abbas, affirmed Sudan's commitment to continue negotiations under the auspices of the African Union "at any time, if the negotiation methodology has been modified to give a greater role to experts".

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Pandor said she would refer the matter to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, current chairperson of the African Union, for necessary measures.

In previous remarks to Egypt Today, former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Houssam Moughazi said, "It is hopeful that the three countries reach a final agreement during this time before the second phase".

"Ethiopia and Sudan accepted the draft document of the AU on the continuation of the trilateral negotiation, a defined role of the AU experts".

One day later, US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, and the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, Yasser Abbas, stressed, Wednesday during their meeting in Khartoum the need to reach a fair legal agreement on the mobilization and operation of the GERD.

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Ethiopia's foreign ministry also said Sudan on Sunday rejected a proposal by South African to meet separately with AU experts, insisting on expanding the role of the experts first.

Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement, while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

The AU-mediated talks have been observed by representatives from the European Union, the U.S., the AU, as well as legal and technical experts.

Sudan has filed a strong protest to Ethiopia and the African Union, sponsor of the GERD talks, over the letter sent by the Ethiopian irrigation minister to the African Union, Sudan and Egypt on January 8 in which he announced Ethiopia's intention to continue filling the GERD on July 2 regardless of an agreement or not.

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Cairo fears the project will significantly cut its crucial water supplies from the River Nile, while Sudan has concerns over how the reservoir will be managed.

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