EGYPT ACCEPTS U.S. INVITATION FOR MEETING OVER ETHIOPIA DAM DISPUTE




İrem UZUN -TDO- Egypt has accepted a U.S. invitation for a meeting with Sudan and Ethiopia over a protracted Nile dam dispute, the foreign ministry said.The meeting, to be held in Washington, would bring together foreign ministers from the three Nile basin countries to try to break the stalemate in talks on Ethiopia's giant hydropower dam called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Cairo is concerned the five-billion-dollar GERD project, located near Ethiopia's border with Sudan and approximately 70 percent complete, will restrict supplies of already scarce Nile waters. Egypt depends on the Nile for about 90 percent of its needs for irrigation and drinking water and says it has "historic rights" to the river guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959. Egypt has urged international mediation after saying the latest round of Nile talks that ended earlier this month had hit another "deadlock", following nine years of thwarted efforts. Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late Tuesday that Cairo had "immediately accepted" the invitation from Washington.

Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its economic development and has denied that the talks between the three are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.On Tuesday, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel prize this month for his peacemaking efforts with longtime enemy Eritrea, said in parliament that "no force can stop Ethiopia from building the dam", adding that millions could be deployed but war is not a solution.