Khartoum talks on disputed Ethiopia dam end in deadlock

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour attends the tripartite talks over an Ethiopian controversial dam being built on the Blue Nile, in Khartoum, on April 5, 2018.

Cairo: Talks between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on a disputed dam being constructed by Addis Ababa have ended in the Sudanese capital Khartoum without a breakthrough, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ghandour said early Friday.

Ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation and intelligence services of the three countries met for 15 in Khartoum on Thursday, their first talks since November.

“The negotiations were constructive and important,” Ghandour added, according to Sudan’s state news agency. “The meeting ended without reaching a consensus or a joint decision. This is case in contentious issues,” he added without details.

Ghandour said that the points of disagreements will be discussed by irrigation ministers of the three countries, but without saying when or where the new talks will be held.

The Khartoum gathering was aimed at breaking an impasse on Ethiopia’s construction of the massive Renaissance Dam on the River Nile, which is vital for the three countries. Egypt fears that the dam will negatively affect its share of the Nile, its main source of water. Egypt has denied that the hydroelectric dam will harm Egypt’s interests.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry confirmed that the Khartoum talks ended inconclusively.

“We had transparent and frank consultations, which covered all related issues. But they have led to no specific course of action or definitive results,” Shoukry said in Khartoum, according to Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency.

He added that new efforts will be made in order to resolve the points of contention and break the stalemate within 30 days . “This timeframe is considered to have started from April 5 and runs until May 5,” Shoukry added without elaborating.

The meeting was originally scheduled for February, but was postponed due to anti-government protests in Ethiopia.

Leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in Addis Ababa in January amid improved ties between Cairo and Khartoum after months of tensions.

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