- Title: No breakthrough expected in upcoming Egypt-Ethiopia dam talks - analysts
- Date: 22nd October 2019
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (FILE - JUNE 5, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF RIVER NILE
- Embargoed: 5th November 2019 11:57
- Keywords: Egypt Ethiopia Nile River Grand Renaissance Dam Russian-African summit
- Location: GUBA AND ADIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA / CAIRO AND DAKAHLIYA, EGYPT / KHARTOUM, SUDAN
- City: GUBA AND ADIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA / CAIRO AND DAKAHLIYA, EGYPT / KHARTOUM, SUDAN
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004B26HAAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Egypt's efforts to push Ethiopia to agree to an external mediator concerning the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam may not be successful, Egyptian and Ethiopian analysts said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to raise the demand for a mediator when he meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a Russian-African summit in Sochi this week.
But analysts say the Ethiopian side insists on keeping the talks limited to the level of ministers of irrigation, rather than sliding into discussion between top state representatives.
The Ethiopian approach is to stay focused on "the technical possibilities of filling and operation" of the dam instead of "taking it up to the political level", professor of hydro politics at Addis Ababa University, Yakob Arsano, said.
Arsano does not expect negotiations to kick off between the two countries.
Egypt is banking on the use of diplomatic cards to pressure Ethiopia into agreeing on better terms for flexible reservoir-filling process and a guaranteed annual flow of 40 billion cubic metres, demands previously rejected by Ethiopia.
Egyptian officials said they had suggested the World Bank as a fourth party mediator, but were also open to the role being filled by a country with technical experience on water sharing issues such as the United States, or the European Union.
Options for Egypt at this stage are limited, especially since it is now "believed that a major part of the dam is already constructed", said professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, Mostafa El-Sayed.
Talks should focus on the rules governing how the dam will be operated and how its reservoir will be filled, he added.
Egypt draws almost all of its fresh water supplies from the Nile, and is faced with worsening water scarcity for its population of nearly 100 million.
It says it is working to reduce the amount of water used in agriculture.
(Production: Sherif Fahmy, Kumerra Gemechu, Mai Shams El-Din)
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