What is behind the dispute over Africa's largest dam project?

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to finalize Nile dam agreement in weeks

Ethiopia to fill Blue Nile dam in 'two weeks' as African Union pushes for deal

The 1959 agreement allocated almost 90 per cent of the Nile waters to Egypt and Sudan, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic meters annually while Sudan was allocated 18.5 billion cubic meters per year.

Leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt agreed that Ethiopia will not start filling its Nile dam without reaching an agreement within two weeks, Sudan and Egypt said on Friday.

The Egyptian presidency said in a statement after the summit that Ethiopia would not fill the dam unilaterally.

"Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue", it said.

"Egypt has elected to bring this matter to the attention of the United Nations security Council after having explored and exhausted every avenue of reaching an amicable solution to an agreement on the GERD that preserves and promotes the rights and interests of the three riparian states of the Blue Nile", said Mr Shoukry.

The committee will also include leaders of Kenya, Mali and Kongo, as well as worldwide observers - which include the USA, the EU and South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union.

Ethiopia won't fill the dam before inking the much-anticipated deal, Hamdok said in a statement, adding: "Sudan is one of the biggest beneficiaries from the dam and also one of the biggest losers if risks are not mitigated, thus it urges Egypt and Ethiopia to the impending necessity. of finding a solution".

Ms Billene Seyoum, a spokesman for Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, said there was "no divergence from Ethiopia's original position of filling the dam" in their consensus reached on Friday.

This follows a video conference summit organized by the African Union (AU) between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the participation of South African President and current AU head Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Mali Ibrahim Abu Bakr Keita, and Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.

"It is in this period, that the three countries have agreed to reach a final agreement on a few pending matters". The council is set to hold a public meeting on the issue on Monday.

Ethiopia's statement said the African Union, and not the U.N. Security Council, will assist the countries in the negotiations and provide technical support.

On the Ethiopian side, Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew told the Associated Press last week that the country will soon start filling the dam with or without an agreement. Both Egypt and Ethiopia have hinted at military steps to protect their interests, and experts fear a breakdown in talks could lead to open conflict.

The Nile is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it snakes through.

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