Ethiopia’s ambassador requests answers following reports the US plans to pull $130m in aid over the country’s controversial dam project.
(African Stand) — Ethiopia has asked the US government to clarify reports that Washington may withhold vital security aid following a dam dispute with neighbouring Sudan and Egypt.
The US government is reportedly considering cutting $130m in aid that could affect security, counter-terrorism, and anti-human trafficking programmes in Ethiopia, as part of a bid to pressure the country from going forward with its plans to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Foreign Policy reported last week.
“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 US, said on Twitter on Monday.
“We have heard that the issue is related to the ongoing negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”
Ethiopia is developing a 6,000-megawatt power plant at the dam and has asserted its right to use the resource for its development despite objections made by Egypt and Sudan, both of which are concerned about the potential side effects of the project could have in their own countries.
The three African nations came to another deadlock during talks about the dam on Friday, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abas said.
Egypt and Sudan suspended their participation in talks with Ethiopia over its Renaissance Dam project in early August after Addis Ababa presented a proposal that did not meet the demands of the two downstream countries.
The decision followed a meeting between technical and legal committees representing the three countries, which was attended by observers from the United States, the European Union, and the African Union.
The three Nile Basin countries have been negotiating for nearly a decade to reach an agreement over what impacts of the $4.6bn GERD project may have on water security.