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Egypt and Sudan Are Ganging Up on Ethiopia’s Nile Dam

Cairo and Khartoum want to capitalize on Addis Ababa’s international isolation.

Blue Nile, red rag.

Blue Nile, red rag.

Photographer: Eduardo Soteras/Getty Images

Ethiopia’s civil war and the growing international isolation of the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are encouraging Egypt to press harder for concessions in their conflict over a giant dam on the Blue Nile. Cairo’s hand has been strengthened by Ethiopia’s strained relations with Sudan, the third party in the dispute.

The Sudanese have accused Ethiopian forces of entering their territory in an attempted land-grab. This has pushed Sudan’s transitional government closer to Egypt. Meeting in Khartoum last week, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s sovereignty council, warned Ethiopia against “any unilateral measures aimed at monopolizing the resources” of the river. The two countries have called for an internationally-mediated agreement on water sharing before the next flood season starts in the summer.