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Timothy Kaldas

A Path Forward For Egypt and Ethiopia

American mediation may help end an acrimonious impasse over a giant dam project.

Dammed if they do.

Dammed if they do.

Photographer: Zacharias Abubeker/Bloomberg

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project has been a source of tension between Cairo and Addis Ababa since construction began in 2011. The Egyptian side insists that the dam violates the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement guaranteeing all waters go to Egypt and Sudan; the Ethiopians reject what they regard as a colonial-era arrangement to which they were never a party, and which denies their rights to a waterway passing through their country.

Sudan has been largely pro-GERD due to the benefits the dam may deliver. However, following the overthrow of former president Omar Al Bashir, and improved relations with Cairo, Khartoum appears less willing to antagonize its neighbors to the north.