Trump says Talks on Renaissance Dam Dispute ‘Went Well’

  • Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan agree to try to resolve dam dispute by Jan. 15, 202

ADDIS ABEBA – United States President Donald Trump said he held successful talks with officials from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the renaissance dam being built on the Nile river.

Trump was mediating in a dispute over Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which Addis Ababa says will assuage its the energy-starved economy.

“The meeting went well,” he said in a Twitter post after he met with Gedu Andargachew of Ethiopia, Sameh Hassan Shoukry of Egypt, and Asma Mohamed Abdalla of Sudan on Wednesday in Washington.

The massive hydropower dam project has been the focus of an escalating feud between Addis Ababa and Cairo over water resources of the river which Ethiopia contributes its 80 percent water but failed to benefit from it so far.

‘Agreement’

In a subsequent meeting that was spearheaded by U.S.’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and also attended by World Bank Group President David Malpass, the three countries have reached “an agreement” to work together to resolve the controversial filling and operation of the Dam.

The ministers, in a joint statement issued after the meeting, noted the significance of the Nile to the development of the people of their countries.

They “reaffirmed their joint commitment to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation” of the GERD.

The foreign ministers also agreed to attend further meetings in Washington on Dec. 9 and Jan. 13 to assess progress in their negotiations.

Ethiopia is about 70% through building the dam and insists no one can stop the project, but Egypt is worried about the impact on its water supplies. Sudan is also downriver from the project.

“If an agreement is not reached by January 15, 2020, the foreign ministers agree that Article 10 of the 2015 Declaration of Principles will be invoked,” the statement said.

Such a move would require an international mediator to help resolve the dispute.

Caption: The US hosted the foreign ministers of the three nations on Wednesday to try and resolve the diplomatic row on the construction of the massive dam project. Photo  US Treasury.