The United States is reported to be mulling over halting some part of its assistance to Ethiopia as it attempts to broker a deal with Sudan and Egypt over the Nile dam dispute.
As per Foreign Policy reports, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt foreign assistance to Ethiopia, which could affect nearly $130 million worth of aid provided to Addis Ababa. The move comes as Ethiopia readies to fill the dam despite no formal agreement with Egypt and Sudan.
As per reports, the foreign assistance cut to Ethiopia has not been formally announced by the US State Department, but officials familiar with the matter say it could affect security assistance, military, counterterrorism, anti-human trafficking programs among others. However, the cuts are not expected to impact the humanitarian aid provided to Ethiopia by the United States in other sectors such as health, education, food assistance, etcetera.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian officials have accused the Trump administration of favouring Egypt in the dispute. As per reports, the move has not gone down well on Capitol Hill either, where critics have argued that it will hamper US-Ethiopia relations in the long run.
Mike Pompeo visited Sudan on August 25 to meet with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and on the same day, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was also in Khartoum to discuss the Nile dam dispute with his Sudanese counterpart.
Ethiopia’s $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been under construction since 2011 near its border with Sudan and is expected to make the country Africa’s biggest power exporter upon completion.
Egypt and Sudan are seeking an agreement that would guarantee minimum flows to the countries before the project starts operating. The Nile is the only freshwater source for Egypt and Sudan and crucial to their economies, which is why the countries want a deal with Ethiopia before the project starts so that any dispute in the future can be resolved in line with the agreement.