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Ethiopia asks U.S. to postpone final talks on Blue Nile dam



Ethiopia has asked the U.S. to postpone what was expected to be the final round of talks on the giant Blue Nile hydropower dam.

Ethiopia made the plea on Wednesday, delaying the potential resolution of a dispute that sparked a years-long diplomatic crisis.

Bizuneh Tolcha, spokesman for Ethiopia’s ministry of water, irrigation and energy told Reuters, without providing details that “we have asked that we need more time for consultation.’’

The final round of talks was scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Washington.

The U.S. has hosted several rounds of talks in Washington with ministers from the three regional powers and the World Bank after years of trilateral negotiations failed.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan said on Jan.31 they would sign an agreement by the end of this month to end their differences over the filling and operation of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Ethiopia is building the dam near its border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, which flows into the Nile river the main water source for Egypt’s 100 million strong population.

The dam is the centerpiece in Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Cairo is “committed to the negotiations track sponsored by the United States and the World Bank.’’

“Both the ministers of foreign affairs and water resources and irrigation will participate in the ministerial meeting called by the American administration.

“It is in appreciation of the constructive role it played over the past months in helping the three countries to reach the desired agreement.’’

There was no immediate comment from Sudan.

After January’s talks, the nations said they had agreed on a schedule for staged filling of the dam and mitigation mechanisms to adjust its filling and operation during dry periods and drought.

But the nations still have to finalise details on several aspects of the dam, including its safety and provisions for the resolution of disputes, the statement said.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

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Olawale Olukoga: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]

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April 2020