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Nile dam mediator South Africa urges talks to continue

Nile dam mediator South Africa urges talks to continue

AFP
Johannesburg
South Africa, current mediator in a long-running feud over Ethiopia’s dam on the Blue Nile, on Thursday urged talks to continue despite threats of suspension and walkout.
Egypt on Tuesday called for a halt in the talks while Sudan threatened to withdraw, rattling efforts to calm the dispute.
In a statement, South Africa, which as current chair of the African Union (AU) has been acting as mediator, said negotiations were at a “critical phase” and it “encourages the parties to remain engaged”.
“We would like to urge them to continue to be guided by the spirit of Pan-African solidarity and fraternity, which has characterised the AU-led negotiations process on the GERD,” International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said.
“It is important that the parties should display magnanimity and understanding of each other’s interests so as to move the process forward,” Pandor said.
Sudan’s water and irrigation minister, Yasser Abbas accused Ethiopia of shifting its position.
Ethiopia, he said, now insisted that the deal on the dam be linked to the wider question of sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.
Egypt and Sudan invoke a “historic right” over the river guaranteed by treaties concluded in 1929 and 1959.
But Ethiopia uses a treaty signed in 2010 by six riverside countries and boycotted by Egypt and Sudan authorising irrigation projects and dams on the river.

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