Ethiopia’s decision last year to hold back water for its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) brought with it massive push back from its neighbors. Sudan and Egypt, which both sit downstream of the Blue Nile, particularly voiced their concerns with the dam. Following their outburst, the dam’s progress halted but just for a few days.
Egypt and Sudan question Ethiopia over dam’s Progress
The two countries asked Ethiopia to end the project as they feared it would significantly reduce their access to water. Egypt entirely relies on the River Nile as its primary water supply. The nation argued that an introduction of the dam would reduce water levels and thus a decrease in water supply for Egyptian citizens. On the other hand, Sudan partially relies on the water from the Nile to supply to its citizens. The country reported that it did record a reduction in water levels when Ethiopia began holding back water to fill up its reservoir.
In the ultimate mission to ensure adequate water supply in their nations, Sudan and Egypt joined hands. The two have since last year been engaged in bitter, bitter disputes with Ethiopia. Ethiopia chose to disregard all complaints concerning its project and insisted its project does not pose any threat. The dam continues to be built in Ethiopia, which has infuriated both Sudan and Egypt. The possibility of a war in the region prompted international forces to intervene and calm the situation. Talks between the three countries were arranged, and all three provided representatives to attend and end the dispute peacefully.
Egypt’s President warns Ethiopia.
The first round of talks between the three countries reached an impasse. Shockingly Ethiopia and Egypt blamed Sudan for the lack of progress in the matter. In separate reports, each nation revealed that Sudan objected to the talk framework, hence causing the impasse. But things changed with Sudan, and the talks did continues despite the disagreement. This week the three nations held their latest round of negotiations between themselves. But the talks, it seems, won’t bear fruit as the three nations continue to fail to make progress over sharing the water.
Following the lack of progress, Egypt’s President has made constant warnings and threats to Ethiopia’s government. President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi warns Ethiopia that his government will not tolerate Addis Ababa’s moves that would reduce Egypt’s share of water from the Nile. The latest warning came a week after he had made another on a televised address saying that all options were open should Egypt’s share of water be touched.
Numerous people have expressed their concerns that the dispute between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia could escalate into a military conflict. The dispute centers on how quickly Ethiopia can fill and replenish its reservoir. Additionally, the disagreement also centers on how much water Ethiopia would release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs. Both of these concerns haven’t seen any consideration by Ethiopia, and due to this, a war may break out.