Congo Leader Visits Sudan, Egypt For Talks On Nile Dispute

Congo’s president, the current head of the African Union, met with Egyptian and Sudanese officials amid international and regional efforts to relaunch negotiations over Ethiopia’s disputed dam on the Nile River’s main tributary.

President Felix Tshisekedi was received by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, at the Khartoum’s airport. The two leaders then headed for talks at the presidential palace. Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok also attended the talks, according to a statement by the sovereign council.

Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi said Congo’s president has offered an initiative to break deadlock over the dam’s dispute. She said the Sudanese authorities would study the initiative, without elaborating.

Tshisekedi then flew to Cairo where he met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian leader.

The dispute now centers on how quickly Ethiopia should fill and replenish the reservoir and how much water it releases downstream in case of a multi-year drought.

Egypt and Sudan argue that Ethiopia’s plan to add 13.5 billion cubic meters of water in 2021 to the dam’s reservoir is a threat to them. Cairo and Khartoum have called for the U.S., the U.N, and European Union to help reach a legally binding deal. The agreement would spell out how the dam is operated and filled, based on international law and norms governing cross-border rivers.

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