Ethiopia calls on US ambassador over Trump comments in dam dispute

by MCR Correspondent

Ethiopian authorities have called on the US ambassador over comments President Trump made over the Ethiopia and Egypt’s dispute about the filling and operation of a massive hydropower dam.

President Trump had called for an agreement between the countries, but added it was a dangerous situation and that Cairo could end up “blowing up that dam”.

Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew thereby summoned US Ambassador to Addis Ababa Mike Raynor to seek clarifications on the comments.

“The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting US president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations,” Gedu’s ministry said in a statement released on 26th October, 2020.

Trump made the comments during a call with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok following Sudan and Israel’s announcement to normalise ties.

Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been locked in a bitter dispute over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which remains unresolved although the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

Trump said on Friday he had brokered an agreement to resolve the issue but that Ethiopia had broken the pact, forcing him to cut funds.

He added that, “They will never see that money unless they adhere to the agreement … You can’t blame Egypt for being a little upset.”

He said he had also urged Egypt to resolve the dispute.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said earlier on Saturday 24th October, 2020 that, “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound.”

“The first phase of filling the dam was completed in August,” it said.

Egypt says it is dependent on the Nile for more than 90% of its scarce freshwater supplies and fears the dam could have a devastating effect on its economy.

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