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Sudan delegation heads to US for Nile dam talks

By AFP - Feb 25,2020 - Last updated at Feb 25,2020

KHARTOUM — A Sudanese delegation left Tuesday for the United States for talks with Egypt and Ethiopia over Addis Ababa's massive dam on the Blue Nile, the irrigation ministry said.

Tensions have been high in the Nile basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011, with Addis Ababa saying it is crucial for its economy while Egypt fears it will disrupt the river that provides almost all of its water.

Sudan — another downstream country — hopes the dam will provide much-needed electricity and help regulate flooding.

The US Treasury Department and the World Bank stepped in as observers last year to facilitate talks between the three countries after negotiations repeatedly failed to produce an accord.

The next round of talks in Washington is set for February 28-29 and will cover a US proposal that addressed major sticking points regarding the dam's operation and the filling of its reservoir.

Sudan's irrigation minister, Yasser Abbas, said these key points of the proposal had already been settled.

“Ninety per cent of the issues have been agreed upon,” Abbas told reporters on Monday. “There remain simple but important technical points.”

The Nile is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it traverses.

Its main tributaries, the White and Blue Niles, converge in the Sudanese capital Khartoum before flowing north through Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

 

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