The African Union (AU) says it remains in control of diplomatic talks over the conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan surrounding a controversial dam on the river Nile. This follows fresh tension that has arisen among the parties after United States President Donald Trump said recently that Egypt could destroy the structure being built in Ethiopia.

Egypt claims it will reduce water flow into its territory. Last Friday, the US President Donald Trump said Egypt could “blow up” a dam that Ethiopia is constructing on the river Nile.

Ethiopia’s Parliament has called President Trump’s remarks irresponsible and says no force can stop it from completing the dam:

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the US ambassador to seek clarification on Trump’s remarks and the AU says it has managed to avoid more tension by convincing Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan to return to the dialogue table.

AU Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, says he has consulted with the heads of state of the three countries and they have agreed to continue dialogue meetings from 27 October. Last year, Ethiopia refused to continue attending US-led talks that were supported by Egypt.

The African Union has led the negotiation since the beginning of the year. Cairo and Khartoum want a new legally binding pact over Ethiopia’s operation of the dam.

Egypt insists that a colonial agreement that gives it 85% control of the dam stands, but Ethiopia says it respects a pact signed by the Nile basin countries – which Egypt did not assent agree to.

Ethiopia says the dam is vital because it will help power up its development in a country of over 100 million people. But Egypt has raised skepticism that any activity on the river poses a danger to the major source of its water.

Meanwhile, Sudan stands to benefit from the dam because it will not only be able to reduce the cost of electricity, it will buy from Ethiopia, but also the dam will reduce flooding in its territory.

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