Washington to host meeting on Ethiopia dam dispute

3 mins read

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2019

Egypt and Sudan say that the Renaissance dam will reduce the flow of the Nile

Egypt’s foreign minister has confirmed that his country would take part in mediated talks in Washington next month over a controversial dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia “will meet in the United States on 6 November… to break the deadlock in the ongoing negotiations regarding the Renaissance Dam,” Sameh Shoukry said.

Ethiopia insists its $4 billion hydro-electric barrage is necessary to provide the country with much-needed electricity.

But Egypt fears the structure could drastically stem the flow of the Nile, on which it depends for around 90% of its water supply.

After calling for international mediation to break the stalemate in nine-year talks, Egypt accepted a US invitation to meet earlier in the month, but no date was set.

Mr Shoukry noted that US officials would be present at the talks acting as “intermediaries that can draw divergent viewpoints closer together…to bring about a fair and just agreement”.

A US official said earlier this month that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had asked US President Donald Trump to get involved in the dispute when they met in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Mr Trump agreed to reach out to Ethiopia and offered the “good offices” of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to mediate, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Ethiopia and Egypt’s leaders met on the sidelines of Russia’s Africa summit last week to discuss a contentious dam project on the River Nile, a diplomat said.

Russia, which was hosting an Africa Summit in its Black Sea resort of Sochi in an attempt to revive its Soviet-era influence on the continent, has said it is ready to play a role in resolving the conflict.

Last week, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told parliament that “no force can stop Ethiopia from building the dam”.

Mr Abiy, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to heal tensions with neighbouring Eritrea, emphasised however that negotiations would be the best way to resolve the issue.

The Nile is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the ten countries it flows through.

Its main tributaries, the White and Blue Niles, converge in Sudanese capital Khartoum before flowing north through Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

Analysts fear the three Nile basin countries could be drawn into a conflict if the dispute is not resolved before the dam begins operating.


  1. I am not sure who wrote this article because it does not show the author. I hope it is not the dear editors this website. That is because there is nothing, nothing controversial about it. Was it more of a conversion material than building the Suez Canal? The old country is trying to harness its unused natural resources which will benefit millions of its citizens and millions more in the Sudan without affecting the NEEDED flow of water to Egypt. The current leaders of Egypt are stubbornly holding on to the ‘take-me-nowhere’ megalomania that was ravaging their past leaders. In the past they even tried to take over the entire country by force but were dealt telling blows not once but twice. They even hired battle hardened American civil war veterans just to turn away and run for their dear lives like rabbits.

    Now they want to come into your own house and tell you that they are the sole decision makers. We will see. There is nothing controversial about the dam..Nothing, nada, zilch, zero!!! Let’s go!!!

    And you bunch of bigots who have been shinning the shoes of Mubarak and now el-Siri! You must be ashamed of yourself. One issue the Ethiopian delegation MUST ask their Egyptian counterpart is to have them admit their interference in the domestic affairs of the old country in the past and to stop feeding these bigots. Then the negotiation can proceed in good spirit. My hommies have woken up finally from Khartoum all the way to Dar es Salam. Deal with it! Ain’t gonna be the good old days!!!

  2. Egypt is working hard in the diplomatic front while Ethiopia is doing nothing. Just today, Arab Parliament passed a resolution that asked Ethiopia not to harm Egypt’s share of Nile water. The fact of the matter is Ethiopia cannot use the dam without harming Egypt’s share. Sooner or later, the entire issue will take a legal form and Egypt and Ethiopia will face each other in international court. Without accepting this, Abiy and his ministers make all kinds of statements which Egypt will use to build its case and win. Even for the meeting Washington called, Abiy himself will be present while Egypt and Sudan are represented by their foreign ministers. The Ethiopian ambassador could have done a better job than Abiy in this meeting. Once Abiy changes language from Oromifa and Amharic to English, he’s no better than a grade student. Look what happened during the recent meeting with Russia’s Putine. For a ten minutes meeting he was reading and his reading so bad that evven Putine was offended. Now he comes to Washington to meet Egyptians – who are smart with good command of English – American officials watching. I think his interest is travelling. He does not understand it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars – poor tax payer’s money. The saving is enormous if the ambassador participates in the meeting. As I said above, he will represent the country better than Abiy. Tell him to stay at home and deal other issues.

  3. PM Abiy is not elected by the people of Ethiopia, he got no business making long-term deals. “Let the election be held then negotiate”, that’s all he has to say no need for him to travel all the way to UDA to say one simple verse.

    Abiy rather should spend his time visiting Omo valley people negotiating a deal with the locals that are dieing each day.

    Abiy wants to compensate money looted by Abay Tsehaye from sugar projects by massacring Omo Valley inhabitants.

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