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Egypt-Ethiopia Talks on Giant Nile Dam End Without Breakthrough

(Bloomberg) -- Egypt said the latest talks on Ethiopia’s giant Nile dam ended without a breakthrough, but vowed to press ahead with efforts to reach a binding agreement for filling and operating that it deems essential to safeguarding vital water flows.

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Two days of discussions between Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese officials in Cairo “did not witness any tangible change in the Ethiopian position,” Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said in a statement late Monday.

The talks were the first formal negotiations on the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in more than a year, after African Union-led attempts to broker a solution stalled.

Egypt and Sudan, which rely on the Nile River for almost all their freshwater, have repeatedly criticized Ethiopia for taking unilateral moves in the dam’s operations, warning of the possible impact on downstream flows. Ethiopia sees the project on the Nile’s main tributary as a key part of its development goals and has sought to downplay Egypt and Sudan’s concerns.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has described his nation’s water security as a “red line” that can’t be crossed. In July, he and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed to work to conclude an agreement within four months.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday the delegations agreed to hold the next round of talks in its capital, Addis Ababa, in September. “The parties exchanged views to reach a win-win situation,” it said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

--With assistance from Fasika Tadesse.

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