RIYADH: The Saudi government on Tuesday reiterated its support for Egypt and Sudan to preserve their rights, amid the ongoing dispute between the two countries and Ethiopia over the damming of the Nile.
Ethiopia is pinning its hopes of economic development and power generation on the dam, known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, but Egypt fears it will threaten its water supply from the Nile. Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and its own water flow.
The cabinet called on the international community to find a clear mechanism to start negotiations between the three nations to find a solution for this crisis, under international auspices and in agreement with the African Union and the Arab League, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The huge construction project on the Blue Nile is 80 percent complete and the dam was expected to reach full generating capacity in 2023, making it Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant and the world’s seventh largest, according to Ethiopia’s state media.
Egypt and Sudan say they fear the dam would reduce the flow of water downstream and affect their “historical water rights” under a water-sharing treaty the two countries signed in 1959 that gave Egypt 55.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) water and Sudan 18.5 bcm.