Sudan formally seeks expanded talks on Nile dam row

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Sudan has formally requested for an expanded mediation team on the dispute over the mega dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has written to the UN, the Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who is also the African Union (AU) chairman, the European Union and the US.

In a statement, Mr Hamdok expressed concern over Ethiopia’s declared intention to fill the dam for the second time in June “without a binding agreement between the three concerned countries”.

The Sudanese PM said the negotiations will “provide significant international and regional support and constitute the required guarantee to build confidence in the negotiations”.

Ethiopia, which sees the dam as critical for producing enough energy to power its economic dreams, opposes the additional mediators other than the African Union.

Negotiations between the three concerned countries, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, over the dam have remained deadlocked over the years, despite mediation by different parties.

Egypt has long opposed the construction of the dam on grounds that the dam would restrict the flow of water, which it relies on for nearly all its fresh water needs.

Sudan, which sides with Egypt, could benefit from lesser flooding downstream, according to experts.