Ethiopian FM leaves for U.S. to attend tripartite talks on Ethiopia’s disputed grand dam

Ethiopia Map
Ethiopia Map

Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew has left here on Tuesday to Washington, capital of the United States, to discuss on matters related to Ethiopia’s disputed grand dam, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) disclosed on Tuesday.

“Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew traveled to Washington on Tuesday at the invitation of the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” MoFA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Andargachew headed to Washington days after his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry also on Sunday left to the U.S., where the two officials are expected to attend talks on Nov. 6 over the disputed Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which the East African country has been building since 2011 on their shared Nile River.

The latest meeting also came after the two countries’ leaders meeting that was held in Russia’s Sochi city on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit on Oct. 23, where the two leaders agreed to the immediate resumption of the work by a technical committee trying to agree on the operating terms of the Dam.

Ethiopia had last week confirmed its participation on Wednesday’s meeting over the dam in Washington. However, MoFA Spokesperson Nebiat Getachew also described the imminent meeting “neither mediation nor a negotiation” over technical issues.

Speaking to reporters, Getachew stressed last week that the Ethiopian government will use every possible way to reflect its stand regarding the dam project, in which the upcoming meeting “will be one of them.”

According to Getachew, the recent meeting between the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Sochi has led to “the restart of technical committee discussion, which has been delayed for various reasons,” on filling and dam operations in the first half of November in Ethiopia.

Egypt has been recently calling for an external mediator on the issue, as recent tripartite talks between the three countries on the disputed dam among the three countries representatives reportedly reached a deadlock.

The diplomatic relations among Ethiopia and Egypt is largely intertwined with the Blue Nile River — a major tributary to the Nile River — that originates from the Ethiopian highlands and shared among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt before reaching the Mediterranean Sea.

The construction of GERD on the river, which will be regarded as Africa’s largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74,000 million cubic meters. has been a major issue among the three countries since its commencement in April 2011.

Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country, has been frequently expressing its concern that the dam would affect its share of the river. Enditem

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