The leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to negotiate an accord over the filling of Ethiopia’s hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile – in the first small breakthrough in their long-stalled dispute over Ethiopia’s $4.6bn Grand Renaissance Dam. Addis Ababa, which had vowed to start filling of the dam in time for the rainy season, has now agreed to delay the project until an agreement is reached within two to three weeks, with the support of the African Union.
The dam project is seen as a crucial lifeline for Ethiopia’s poverty-stricken population. However, Egypt relies on the Nile for 90 percent of its water, which is also crucial for Sudan. Since the breakdown of trilateral talks in February, both governments indicated that they might turn to military means to halt the Ethiopian scheme.