Addis Ababa — The US has invited Ethiopia and Egypt for talks as part of international efforts to quell a dispute over a huge dam that is being built on the Nile River, according to Ethiopian officials.
Ethiopia will take part in the November 6 meeting that will include mutual neighbour Sudan, foreign ministry spokesperson Nebiat Getachew said on Thursday. Egypt has already accepted an invitation for talks in the US on the same date.
The Voice of America reported last week that treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin had proposed the three countries and the World Bank’s president meet amid rising tensions over Ethiopia’s dam on the Blue Nile River, citing a letter it obtained. The World Bank’s office in Ethiopia did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Accusations have flared in recent weeks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is set to be Africa’s biggest hydropower project when completed. Egypt and Ethiopia are striving to reach an agreement on how to fill the dam’s reservoir, a process crucial to ensuring a reliable flow to Egypt, which depends on the Nile for almost all its fresh water.
Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said on Tuesday his country would take part in the negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan in Washington to break a “deadlock” over the dam. He did not specify the US treasury’s involvement.
Ethiopia water minister Sileshi Bekele, who confirmed on Wednesday that his country had received the US treasury’s invitation, said the three African nations are already due to hold the sixth of nine planned technical meetings on filling and dam operations in the first half of November in Ethiopia.