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Egypt and Ethiopia to discuss Nile dam dispute

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A cloud of dust rises from a dynamite blast, as part of construction work at Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam, March 31, 2015. Egypt fears the dam scheme will restrict the waters coming down from Ethiopia’s highlands. Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has said it would hold talks with Ethiopia in the next two weeks to iron out differences over an Ethiopian dam on the River Nile that Cairo sees as a threat to its water supplies.

The two countries and Sudan have held a series of meetings over the $4 billion hydroelectric Grand Renaissance Dam, but have yet to reach a deal on managing flows and other issues.

Egypt fears the scheme will restrict the waters coming down from Ethiopia’s highlands, through the deserts of Sudan, to its fields and reservoirs. Ethiopia, which wants to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, says it will have no such impact.

Egypt’s prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly, said he and his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, agreed “to start bilateral discussions in the next two weeks to agree on the points that remain undecided,” state news agency MENA reported.

MENA cited Mr Abiy as saying he wanted to preserve Egypt’s Nile river rights.

The dam was scheduled to be finished by 2020, but Mr Abiy said in August it would be delayed by several years.

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