Ethiopia Seeks U.S. Clarification on Reports of Planned Aid Cut

Ethiopia asked the U.S. government to clarify reports it may withhold about $130 million of aid in a bid to pressure the Horn of Africa nation to review its plans to fill a new dam that have affronted its neighbors.

“We have asked for clarification on reports of the United States’ decision not to give the $130 million it assigned to Ethiopia,” Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the U.S., said on Twitter. “We have heard that the issue is related to the ongoing negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”

Ethiopia and Egypt are at an impasse over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile River will be managed. Egypt, which depends on the Nile for most of its fresh-water needs, is opposed to any development it says will impact the flow downstream — a position echoed by Sudan. Ethiopia is developing a 6,000-megawatt power plant at the dam, and has asserted a right to use the resource for its development.

As part of its effort to end the impasse, the U.S. is considering cutting aid that could affect security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking programs, Foreign Policy reported Aug. 28.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Friday reached a deadlock in tripartite talks about the dam, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abas said.