By Bahram Abdul Moneim
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry on Friday said “all pending issues” regarding Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam had been discussed during this week’s trilateral talks in Khartoum between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
The ministerial-level talks, however, which wrapped up Friday morning, failed to produce any major breakthroughs, Shukry was quoted as saying by Egypt’s official MENA news agency.
Nevertheless, he asserted, “all outstanding issues” had been discussed, while a number of recommendations were issued.
He described the consultations as “transparent and frank”, saying the three countries would continue to talk over the next 30 days with a view to resolving their differences.
Early Friday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour confirmed that the three states had been unable to reach an agreement regarding various technical aspects of Ethiopia’s dam project.
“We sat for long hours and discussed many issues, but we failed to reach a consensus,” Khartoum’s top diplomat told reporters.
He declined to elaborate on the nature of the outstanding differences between the three Nile states.
Negotiations over Ethiopia’s ambitious dam project resumed Thursday after a two-year hiatus.
In 2011, Ethiopia began construction of a massive hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River, near the border with Sudan.
In the seven years since, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have held several rounds of talks to discuss the dam’s anticipated impact on Nile water resources.
Addis Ababa says electricity generated by the dam -- which was originally slated for completion this year -- will help eradicate poverty and contribute to the country’s development.
Egypt, however, fears the dam could adversely affect its historical share of Nile water as defined in a 1959 water-sharing treaty.