Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail to reach agreement on Nile dam

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Egyptian Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati (2nd R) participates with a delegation in the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations in Khartoum on October 4, 2019. (AFP)
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Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Seleshi Bekele (L) participates along with a delegation in a meeting with his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts (unseen) in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on October 4, 2019, as part of the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations. (AFP)
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Egyptian Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati (2nd R) participates with a delegation in the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations with his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts (unseen) in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on October 4, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2019

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail to reach agreement on Nile dam

  • Sudan Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters in Khartoum that progress was made but differences on filling the giant reservoir and operating rules of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam remain unsettled
  • Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry, meanwhile, said that talks have stalemated

CAIRO: Irrigation ministers from three key Nile Basin countries wrapped up a two-day meeting Saturday in Sudan’s capital without resolving differences over Ethiopia’s soon-to-be-finished Blue Nile dam, with Egypt calling for international mediation to help reach a “fair and balanced” agreement.
Sudan Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters in Khartoum that progress was made but differences on filling the giant reservoir and operating rules of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam remain unsettled.
He said Ethiopia proposed a plan to fill the reservoir over four to seven years, without elaborating. He added that the three countries would continue consultations without giving a time frame.
Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry, meanwhile, said in a statement after the meeting that talks have stalemated, claiming Ethiopia rejected “all proposals that ... avoid causing substantial damage to Egypt.”
“Ethiopia ... offered a new proposal that contradicts previously agreed principles governing the filling and operating process,” said Muhammed el-Sebai, spokesman of the ministry.
He said Egypt has called for international mediation “to help reach a fair and balanced agreement that protect the three countries’ rights.”
Ethiopia did not immediately respond.
Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Radi said Egypt was looking forward to an “instrumental role” by the US in the talks. He said because there was no breakthrough in negotiations, there was a need for an “international instrumental role to overcome the current deadlock.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday the US supports Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s negotiations to reach a sustainable and mutually beneficial agreement.
“All Nile Valley countries have a right to economic development and prosperity,” Grisham said. “The administration calls on all sides to put forth good faith efforts to reach an agreement that preserves those rights, while simultaneously respecting each other’s Nile water equities.”
Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile River, which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. Ethiopia has roughly the same population and says the dam will help its economic development.


Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

Updated 16 January 2021

Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

  • Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships”
  • In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear accord

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a US pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic.
Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships” at a distance of 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles). The report did not specify the type of missiles used.
In the first phase of the drill Friday, the Guard’s aerospace division launched surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and drones against “hypothetical enemy bases.” Iranian state television described the drill as taking place in the country’s vast central desert, the latest in a series of snap exercises called amid the escalating tensions over its nuclear program. Footage also showed four unmanned, triangle-shaped drones flying in a tight formation, smashing into targets and exploding.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased amid a series of incidents stemming from President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Amid Trump’s final days as president, Tehran has recently seized a South Korean oil tanker and begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels, while the US has sent B-52 bombers, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine into the region.
In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear accord, which he has said America could reenter.
Iran fired cruise missiles Thursday as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, state media reported, under surveillance of what appeared to be a US nuclear submarine. Iran’s navy did not identify the submarine at the time, but on Saturday, a news website affiliated with state television said the vessel was American. Helicopter footage of the exercise released Thursday by Iran’s navy showed what resembled an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, the USS Georgia, which the US Navy last month said had been sent to the Arabian Gulf.
Iran has missile capability of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), far enough to reach archenemy Israel and US military bases in the region. Last January, after the US killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, Tehran retaliated by firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops, resulting in brain concussion injuries to dozens of them.
Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord.
When the US then increased sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.