US starts meddling in Egypt’s water war over Ethiopian dam
Tue 05 November 2019:
The U.S. has officially inserted itself in the raging water war over Ethiopia’s planned dam over the Nile River after President Trump’s reported call to the administrations of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia for mediation talks in Washington.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday and voiced support for negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over a giant hydroelectric dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, the White House said.
Egypt’s foreign minister said last week the Trump administration had invited the three countries to a meeting in Washington on Nov. 6 to try to break the deadlock in the talks.
Egypt fears the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) could restrict already scarce supplies of water from the Nile, on which it is almost entirely dependent. Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its economic development.
Harsh statements issued by Egypt and Ethiopia have raised the specter of a water war between the two African countries.
“President Trump expressed support for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s ongoing negotiations to reach a collaborative agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
In recent weeks, Egypt has called for an external mediator on the issue, saying three-way talks have been exhausted.
Ethiopia has previously rejected the idea, and is expected to start filling the reservoir behind the dam next year.
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