Ethiopia starts filling Grand Renaissance dam, minister says

Credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH

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ADDIS ABABA, July 15 (Reuters) - Ethiopia has started filling the Grand Renaissance dam, a giant hydroelectric project it is building on the Blue Nile, its water minister said on Wednesday, a day after talks with Sudan and Egypt on the issue became deadlocked.

"The construction of the dam and the filling of the water go hand in hand," Seleshi Bekele said in comments broadcast on television.

On Tuesday, talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to regulate the flow of water from the hydropower dam on the Blue Nile failed to reach agreement.

The dam is the centrepiece of Ethiopia's bid to become Africa's biggest power exporter, but it has raised concerns in Cairo that already limited Nile waters, on which its population of more than 100 million people is almost entirely dependent, would be further restricted.

(Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; editing by John Stonestreet and Giles Elgood)

((george.obulutsa@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +254 20 499 1234; Reuters Messaging: george.obulutsa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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