Saudi Arabia seeks to end Ethiopian dam row

Cairo: Saudi Arabia is seeking to resolve a long-running dispute over a Nile dam, a Saudi official has said.

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Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have held a series of on-and-off talks for about a decade to end the row over the Grand Ethiopian Reconnaissance Dam (GERD), without making headway so far.

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Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed Al Qatan said in Khartoum that his country is seeking to resolve the dam in a way that preserves the rights of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al Awsat reported.

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Al Qatan disclosed that upon directives of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Saudi meetings had been held with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al Sissi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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Sudan Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia amid tensions with Addis Ababa over border and dam disputes.

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“Saudi Arabia will continue its good office efforts to end the important and thorny Renaissance Dam file,” Al Qatan said after talks with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

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Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al Mahdi, meanwhile, warned against filling and operating the GERD without reaching a binding agreement.

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Water needs

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She renewed Sudan’s adherence to dialogue to reach a solution acceptable to the three riparian sides.

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Egyptian officials have repeatedly blamed Addis Ababa for the deadlock in GERD talks.

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The Ethiopian dam has triggered wide fears in Egypt, which relies heavily on the Nile to cover the water needs of its population of over 100 million people.

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Ethiopia has denied Egyptians’ worries and defended its construction of the 5-billion-dollar dam as being vital for its development and lifting its population of around 107 million out of poverty.

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