ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopia on Tuesday blamed Egypt for causing to falter the latest round of three-way talks with Sudan on a $5-billion hydro-electric Nile dam project in the East African country.

On June 9, the three countries restarted talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD) first filling and annual operations.

Ethiopia plans to start filling the dam in its main rainy month of July, hoping to test of plant’s two turbines next year.

“Egypt came to the latest negotiation with one leg on the talks and another aimed at lodging complaint to the UN Security Council,” the local broadcaster FANA quoted Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew as saying.

Assessing the last four days of talks, Gedu noted that on the fifth day Tuesday, the three countries were expected to negotiate legal issues.

“Egypt wants to take everything for itself with no readiness to give,” he was quoted as saying.

Talks between the three resumed this month after having been suspended since February after a series of meetings held in Washington under the auspices of the US, UN and World Bank.

Ethiopia launched the $5-billion GERD project in 2011 at a site 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from its border with Sudan.

Egypt has claimed that the dam would reduce the flow of Nile waters downstream while Ethiopia maintains that it needs the dam for national development as well as regional electricity interconnection.

Ethiopia hopes to retain 4.9 billion cubic meters of water during the coming rainy season in July and August as part of the first-phase filling and the volume would be enough to test two turbines in mid-2021.

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