Dam on the Nile: what is the outcome for these « fruitful » talks in Washington?
Unless last-minute changes are made, everything is already ready for the long-awaited ministerial meeting in Washington between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, three neighbors who have trouble grappling with the roadblock. Blue Nile.
The meeting will bring together the foreign ministers of these three countries. They are Ethiopian Gedu Andargachew, Sudanese Ali Ahmed Karti and Egyptian Sameh Choukri. And as announced by the latter, almost a week ago, this reunion should help to « break the stalemate negotiations concerning » the construction by Ethiopia of a hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile.
Called « Renaissance Dam » (GERD), this project started in 2012. At a cost of 4 billion dollars, it is expected to become from 2022 (start of operation) the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa , with a production of 6,000 megawatts.
A happiness for Ethiopia, but not necessarily for neighboring countries bordering the Nile. Dependent on 90% of the Nile supply, Egypt for example has always feared a reduction in the flow of the Blue Nile River.
Negotiations, including those last October between Khartoum, Cairo and Addis Ababa, failed. For, while rejecting any bellicose option, Addis Ababa had made it clear that it did not intend to compromise on the evolution of GERD. « No force can stop Ethiopia from building the dam, » said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Therefore, if Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian ambassador to the United States, wish « fruitful » discussions, this reunion promises however very decisive for the three countries. So much will require real assurances to reassure one another.
Otherwise, we could witness a new impasse that could escalate tensions already strong. And thus make international mediation difficult.