CAIRO (Al Jazeera) – Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have once again failed to agree on a new negotiating approach to resolve their years-long dispute over the controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.
In late October, the three African nations resumed virtual talks over the filling and operation of the $4bn Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, which broke ground in 2011.
The renewed talks followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments in which he said downstream Egypt could end up "blowing up” the project, which Cairo has called an existential threat. The remarks angered Ethiopia.
Foreign and irrigation ministers of the three nations met last week and delegated experts from their countries to discuss and agree on an approach so the talks could be fruitful.
But differences remained and Wednesday’s meeting failed to bridge the gaps, said Mohammed el-Sebaei, Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry spokesman.
Sudan’s water ministry said in a statement: "Water ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to end this round of negotiations over Ethiopia’s Nile dam.”
"This round … failed to make any tangible progress,” the statement read.
Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said the talks did not achieve concrete progress and that Egypt opposed a Sudanese proposal supported by Ethiopia to maximize the role of the African Union (AU) experts.
Ethiopia said the countries "were unable to reach a complete agreement” on items such as the "basis for the upcoming negotiation and the time frame”.
It said they would turn to the chair of the AU Executive Council and South Africa’s foreign minister "to consult on the next steps”.
Multiple rounds of talks have over the years failed to produce an agreement on the filling and operation of the vast reservoir behind the 145-metre (475-foot) tall hydropower barrage.