Ethiopia Refuses to Bend Under US Pressure on Renaissance Dam

ADDIS ABABA (Somaliguardian) –The Ethiopian government refused to pay heed to a mounting US pressure on reaching an agreement with Egypt and Sudan to bring controversies to an end over dam on the Nile River.

Gedu Andargachew, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister speaking to the Associated Press said the three countries should come to the table of negotiations without any outside interference.

“In the talks held in Washington, D.C., around mid- February, we were pressured to quickly reach an agreement and sign a deal before resolving outstanding issues,” Gedu said, adding that his delegation told U.S. officials at the time that Ethiopia would not sign an accord under such duress.

“Then U.S. officials drafted and sent us an agreement, which we also opposed because the U.S. only has an observer status,” he said. “We are of the opinion that an agreement reached under pressure is not in the best interest of anyone party to the talks.”

Dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt has become more intense in the last few weeks over the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River, Africa’s longest river. Controversies have strengthened after Addis Ababa did not attend the latest round of talks held in Washington on Feb.26, citing the need for further domestic consultations.

Egypt criticized Ethiopia over its absence at this critical stage in the negotiations, vowing to use all available means to defend the interests of its people.

The dispute has got bitter after US President Donald Trump phoned Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi whom he assured that an agreement would soon be reached, but the sentiments angered Ethiopia, which raises fears that US President might favor Egypt.

Ethiopian FM told AP that his government is now drafting a proposal in which tensions with Sudan and Egypt could finally be brought to an end, arguing that Ethiopia has right to make use of its water resources to provide electricity to more than 65% of its population who are currently unable to access the service.

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