The United States announced the freezing of $130 million worth of aid to Ethiopia. The measure is to pressure the country as part of the negotiations for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The Trump administration, which has so far acted as a mediator in this tripartite dispute, wants to pressure parties into showing more flexibility in talks. The frozen resources were initially earmarked for security, counter-terrorism, and anti-human trafficking programs.
Indeed, the new measure reflects the impasse currently facing these Egyptian-Ethiopian negotiations led by the USA. Addis Ababa has consistently accused Washington of siding with Cairo, one of its traditional allies, and has suspended talks, calling on the African Union to moderate the dispute.
The USA, for its part, blames Ethiopia for having decided to fill the dam’s water reservoir when a final agreement has not yet been reached with its neighbors. “The dam is ours! We will finish it together! With our efforts, our Ethiopia will shine!” said Fitsum Arega, the Ethiopian ambassador to the United States, who announced that he had officially sent a request for an explanation to the U.S. State Department.
As a reminder, the Renaissance Dam is a private-equity funded infrastructure built by Ethiopia (more than $4 billion) on the Blue Nile, which Egypt depends on its freshwater supply.