Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Monday signed an initial agreement on sharing water from the Nile River that runs through the three countries, as Addis Ababa presses ahead with its construction of a massive new dam it hopes will help alleviate the country's power shortages.
The dam had been an issue of contention among the three countries, with Egypt concerned it would reduce its share of the Nile established under a colonial-era agreement that gave Egypt and Sudan the main rights to exploit the river's water.
But on Monday, leaders of the three nations — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn — welcomed the agreement in speeches in Khartoum's Republican Palace, linking hands and smiling at a signing ceremony.
Three African leaders have signed an initial deal to end a long-running dispute over the sharing of Nile waters and the building of Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam, in Ethiopia.
The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed the agreement in Sudan's capital, Khartoum.
Egypt has opposed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, saying it would worsen its water shortages.
Ethiopia says the dam will give it a fairer share of Nile waters.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia took a step Monday to defuse tensions around Ethiopia’s construction of a massive dam on the Blue Nile, which has threatened to upset the geopolitical balance in the region over how to share water from the River Nile.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Halemariam Desalegn signed a declaration in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, pledging to better share the Nile’s waters, an Egyptian presidency official familiar with the matter said.
Ethiopia has said the project is necessary to produce much-needed electricity, but the building of the dam has been controversial, with some scientists predicting it could disrupt the flow of the river into Egypt, where it provides much of the country’s water and also supplies electricity from the hydroelectric project at Aswan.