Trump-mediated Nile dam talks ‘went well’ and hope is for agreement by January
A first meeting by the US government to mediate the Nile dam dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan ended on Wednesday with no breakthrough but it “went well”, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter.
Foreign ministers from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – Sameh Shoukry, Asma Abdallah and Gedu Andargachew – met Mr Trump, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and a representative from the World Bank at the White House.
They were trying to resolve the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or Gerd, which Egypt says will rob it of a crucial water supply.
Mr Trump tweeted a photo of himself with the representatives behind the Resolute Desk. “Just had a meeting with top representatives from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to help solve their long-running dispute on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, one of the largest in the world, currently being built,” Mr Trump posted on Twitter.
“The meeting went well and discussions will continue during the day.”
The Treasury Department set two more meetings and a deadline of mid-January for an agreement.
In a joint statement released by the Treasury, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment “to reach a comprehensive, co-operative, adaptive, sustainable and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation” of the dam.
It said they agreed “to hold four technical government meetings at the level of water minister” by January 15, 2020, to reach an agreement. They also agreed on meetings in Washington on December 9 and January 13, 2020 to assess and support progress.
If no such agreement is reached, the statement said “the foreign ministers agree that Article 10 of the 2015 Declaration of Principles will be invoked”, which would bring in outside mediation for the issue.
The dam is a $4 billion (Dh14.7bn) project by Ethiopia announced in 2011 being built on the Blue Nile, which accounts for about 85 per cent of the Nile’s water.
Meeting with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan
... went well and discussions will continue during the day DONALD TRUMP US President
Egypt says the dam will worsen its water crisis and pose a threat to its economy.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi welcomed US mediation and praised Mr Trump’s efforts, calling him “a unique man who possesses the strength to face and deal with crisis”.
Mr Trump’s adviser and sonin-law, Jared Kushner, also attended the talks and held a meeting with Mr Shoukry on Tuesday, Egyptian media reported.
But a breakthrough was not achieved on Wednesday and experts predict a number of disagreements ahead.