Ethiopia’s FM in Washington for Renaissance Dam Talk

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Foreign minister Gedu Andargachew is in the United States for trilateral talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with his Sudan and Egypt counterpart.

Gedu headed to Washington DC on Saturday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said, as per the invitation of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The U.S. and World Bank are observers to the talks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi last year pleaded to the U.S. and the international community to mediate a solution.

The foreign ministers will continue the negotiation on Monday, said MoFA.

The three countries failed to reach agreement on technical issues including the filling of the multibillion Dam during their negotiation in Addis Ababa last week.

After the meeting, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Sileshi Bekele accused Egypt of coming to the talks with no intention of reaching an agreement.

“We didn’t agree on the filling of the dam as Egypt presented a new proposal requesting the filling to be carried out in 12-21 years. This is not acceptable. We will start the filling of the dam by July,” the minister told reporters.

Ethiopia now wants African countries to intervene in its dispute with Egypt over the dam, which is around 70% complete.

“Ethiopia always believes in a win-win approach with Egypt and Sudan. Our kind request is that Ramaphosa … as he is a good friend of Ethiopia and Egypt, also as the incoming African Union chair, he can make a discussion between both parties for us to solve the issue peacefully,” said Prime minister Abiy Ahmed after his meeting with South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, in Pretoria.

The South African leader confirmed that he had already raised the matter with the Egyptian president, according to Associated Press.

“The Nile river is important to both countries and there must be a way in which both their interests can be addressed. There must be a way in which a solution can be found,” Ramaphosa said.

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[Photo GERD Project]

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