Ethiopia’s FM Travels to U.S. to Attend Trilateral Meeting Over GERD

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian foreign minister Gedu Andargachew is in Washington to partake US-mediated trilateral discussion on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Gedu traveled to the United States on Tuesday at the invitation of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss on the Dam, said Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry in a statement.

Ethiopia confirmed its participation of Wednesday’s meeting over the dam, it’s building along the Nile River, last week.

But spokesperson of the ministry Nebiat Getachew said, “It’s neither mediation nor a negotiation” over technical issues.

He told reporters that the government will use every opportunity to reflect its stand regarding the dam project, “and this meeting will be one of them”.

In recent weeks, Egypt has called for an external mediator on the issue, saying three-way talks have been exhausted.

Addis Ababa rejected the idea, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process. The Ethiopia government plans to start filling the reservoir behind the dam next year.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and voiced support for trilateral negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the hydroelectric dam, according to White House.

Egypt fears the dam could restrict supplies of water from the Nile while Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its energy-starved economic development.

President Trump expressed support for the three nations’ “ongoing negotiations to reach a collaborative agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam”, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

The statement did not mention any meeting in Washington.