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Egypt hopes US' Biden engages in Ethiopia dam crisis

January 15, 2021 at 5:56 pm

A general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on 26 December 2019 [EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt on Friday called on the incoming US administration to play a role in finding a solution to the Ethiopia dam crisis, Anadolu Agency reports.

Egypt’s official news agency quoted Motaz Zahran, the ambassador to the US, as saying that Egypt hopes incoming President Joe Biden will engage with the three parties in the crisis – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – to make progress.

In a virtual meeting with the National Council on the US-Arab Relations Zahran, stressed two points on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River: “First, Ethiopia’s needs for development, and second, realizing the threat facing Egypt and Sudan if the three countries cannot reach an agreement in this regard.”

Negotiations so far have not resulted in any solution towards ending the crisis, he said.

READ: Sudan presents new conditions for rejoining Ethiopia dam talks

The outgoing Trump administration mediated between Egypt and Ethiopia, he said, but the latter refused to continue with the US efforts and accused Washington of being biased towards Cairo.

Biden is taking office next Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Zahran cautioned against any unilateral action that might be taken by Ethiopia which would harm the three countries.

The three countries have been in talks under the mediation of the African Union since last June after the Washington rounds of negotiation aided by the US and the World Bank broke down.

Egypt has been opposing the dam since construction began in 2011, saying it would reduce the flow of water downstream. Ethiopia maintains the dam would be vital to addressing the country’s acute shortage of electricity for domestic and industrial use.

READ: Sudan refuses to internationalise Renaissance Dam crisis