African countries reach agreement on massive dam

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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have reached an agreement to work together to resolve the controversial filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam along the River Nile, the three countries said in a joint statement.

The US hosted the foreign ministers of the three nations to try and resolve the long running diplomatic row on the construction of the massive dam project being built in northern Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is about 70% through with building the dam and insists no one can stop the project, but Egypt is worried about the impact on its water supplies and how much water will be used by Sudan.

On completion, the $4bn (£3bn) project would be Africa’s largest hydroelectric power station but it has been beset by delays and disputes.

The joint statement released by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin after meeting said: “The ministers also agreed to work toward completion of an agreement by January 15, 2020, and would attend two meetings in Washington, DC on December 9, 2019 and January 13, 2020, to assess and support progress.”

“If an agreement is not reached by January 15, 2020, the foreign ministers agree that Article 10 of the 2015 Declaration of Principles will be invoked,” he said.

Article 10 says: “Three countries will settle disputes, arising out of the interpretation or implementation of this agreement, amicably through consultation or negotiation in accordance with the principle of good faith.”

The meeting agreed that the US and the World Bank would attend future negotiations as observers.

 

BBC/Christopher Ojilere