CAIRO (Reuters) – The Trump administration has invited Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to a meeting in Washington on Nov. 6 to try to break the deadlock in negotiations over a giant hydropower dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, Egypt’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Water flows through Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Earlier this month, Cairo said it accepted a U.S. invitation to a meeting of foreign ministers over the project that is the source of an escalating spat between the two African countries.
It was not clear if the other two countries had agreed to attend.
“The U.S. administration invited the three countries to meet in the United States on Nov. 6 in the presence of representatives of the American administration to discuss breaking the deadlock in the ongoing negotiations,” Sameh Shoukry told a news conference with visiting German foreign minister Heiko Maas.
Egypt is worried that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under construction near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, will restrict supplies of already scarce Nile waters on which it is almost entirely dependent.
In recent weeks, Egypt has called for an external mediator on the issue, saying three-way talks have been exhausted.
Addis Ababa has previously rejected the idea, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.
On Thursday, Egypt and Ethiopia’s leaders agreed to the immediate resumption of the work by a technical committee trying to agree on the operating terms of the Dam, an Egyptian presidency spokesman said.
There was no mention of a mediator in the statement.
Ethiopia is expected to start filling the reservoir behind the dam next year.
Reporting by Nadeen Ebrahim, writing by Mahmoud Mourad, editing by Sonya Hepinstall