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Egypt: We’ll use ‘all means’ to defend Nile interests

February 29, 2020 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Saturday said it would use “all available means” to defend “the interests” of its people after Ethiopia skipped the latest round of U.S.-brokered talks on a disputed Nile dam project with Egypt and Sudan.

A final deal on the massive Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was expected in the two-day, U.S.-brokered talks in Washington, which were concluded Friday.

The U.S. crafted a draft deal on the filling and operation of the dam based on proposals by legal and technical teams from all three countries and with input of the World Bank, according to a statement by U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin

Egypt signed the deal, Ethiopia skipped the talks and Sudan, which attended, did not sign the U.S.-crafted deal.

Egypt said Saturday in a statement by its Foreign Ministry it “regrets Ethiopia’s unjustifiable absence ... at this this critical stage in the negotiations.”

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It described the deal as “fair and balanced.”

Ethiopia has said it skipped the talks “because the country’s delegation hasn’t concluded its consultation with relevant stakeholders.”

The dispute over what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam pits Ethiopia’s desire to pull millions out of poverty against Egypt’s concerns over a critical water supply.

Egypt “will continue to give the matter the maximum attention it deserves, as part of bearing their national responsibilities in defending the interests of the Egyptian people as well as their fate and future, by all available means,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said without elaborating.