Egypt resumes Nile dam talks with Ethiopia, Sudan

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry addresses journalists during a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias (not pictured) following a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, Greece July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s foreign minister said Cairo had resumed talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a $4 billion dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile which had been suspended for over a year.

The three countries’ irrigation ministers met in Cairo on Sunday to resume negotiations over filling and operating the dam, which Egypt sees as a threat to its water supplies.

Egypt fears the dam will restrict Nile River flows, the economic lifeblood of all three countries, from Ethiopia’s highlands, through the deserts of Sudan, to Egyptian fields and reservoirs.

Sunday’s meeting came “after a halt of about a year and three months, a period exceeding what was planned”, state news agency MENA cited Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry as saying.

Ethiopia disputes the mega dam will harm Egypt, and in November, MENA quoted Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as saying he wanted to preserve Egypt’s Nile River rights.

Shoukry said he hoped the negotiations, due to continue on Monday, would lead to agreement on a firm timeline for talks that will eventually lead to a binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation.

Reporting by Omar Fahmy, Writing by Yousef Saba; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise