Trump says talks on Nile dam dispute ‘went well’

United States President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he held successful talks with officials from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over a new dam being built on the Nile river.

November 07, 2019

Trump was mediating in a dispute over Ethiopia’s construction of the huge dam which Egypt says could drastically disrupt the Nile, the river providing 90 percent of the country’s drinking water.

Ethiopia says the five-billion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near the border with Sudan will be a massive boost to the economy and is necessary to provide much-needed electricity.

However, the Egyptians fear the move would be at its expense, and reduce its share of Nile water.

Last month, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told Parliament, in reference to the dam, that, “If we are going to war … we can deploy many millions”.

Egypt slammed his strident comments as “unacceptable”.

Abiy, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to heal tensions with neighbouring Eritrea, emphasised however that negotiations would be the best way to resolve the issue.

Outside mediation

A US official said in October that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had asked Trump to get involved in the dispute when they met in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Nile is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it traverses.

Its main tributaries, the White and Blue Niles, converge in Sudanese capital Khartoum before flowing north through Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

Analysts fear the three Nile basin countries could be drawn into a conflict if the dispute is not resolved before the dam begins operating. It is scheduled to go online by 2022.

Discussions between the three countries broke down this year prompting Egypt to call for international mediation last month.

Sisi recently described Trump as being of “unique standing with the power in dealing with conflicts … and finding crucial solutions for them”.


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