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Trump Optimistic About Outcome of Renaissance Dam Discussions

Trump Optimistic About Outcome of Renaissance Dam Discussions

Thursday, 7 November, 2019 - 13:30
Trump and representatives of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in the negotiations on the Renaissance Dam (Trump’s Twitter account)

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he had met with top representatives from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to help resolve their long running dispute on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

On his official Twitter account, Trump said the meeting went well and discussions will continue.

The US Treasury hosted Wednesday a ministerial meeting including foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and World Bank President David Malpass.

The parties agreed to work toward resolving their dispute over the filling and operation of a massive dam project in Ethiopia by Jan. 15, 2020.

Sources stressed that the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, was keen during the meeting to provide the appropriate atmosphere to bridge the views, resume negotiations and find ways to resolve differences on the main points raised by the Egyptian side.

Cairo fears the filling of the dam reservoir on the Blue Nile tributary will restrict already scarce supplies of water from the Nile, on which the country is almost entirely dependent. Sudan is also downriver from the project.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed readiness for Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian cooperation in projects to export electricity.

He said this could be achieved through the electricity linkage projects between Egypt and Sudan, from which Ethiopia could benefit in exporting electricity to Europe in the future.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia's position seemed very cautious and adhering to Addis Ababa’s right to achieve development and generate electricity from the dam established on the Blue Nile.

It refused to compromise its right to achieve the aspirations of its development plans to promote its economy.

Sources from the Ethiopian embassy pointed out that the difference with Egypt is related to technical issues rather than political matters.

They noted that Ethiopia has been showing more flexibility during the negotiations and is reviewing the Egyptian request to fill the dam in a period of four to seven years instead of two years in order not to affect the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

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