Ethiopia Seeks Explanation from U.S. over Funding Cut

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s government has demanded an explanation from the US over a report that it has reduced its funding of Ethiopia as the dispute continues over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Last week, Foreign Policy magazine reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved the withholding of up to $130m in a bid to pressurize Ethiopia into coming to a deal with Egypt over the GERD.

For nearly a decade, Ethiopia and Egypt have been negotiating over the dam, which sits on the Nile’s main tributary, the Blue Nile.

The countries, along with Sudan, are negotiating over the amount of water the dam will release.

“We have asked for clarification on reports of the United States’ decision not to give the $130 million it assigned to Ethiopia,” Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the U.S., said on Twitter. “We have heard that the issue is related to the ongoing negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”

The ambassador said the US said there would be an explanation on Monday at 14:30 local time (18:30 GMT).

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on Friday reached a deadlock in tripartite talks about the dam but agreed to resume their negotiation after two weeks.