The Egypt government has reportedly accepted an invitation from the United States to a meeting of foreign ministers over the construction of a giant hydropower dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, reported Yahoo News.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s foreign ministry said the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, the three nations directly affected by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), will attend a meeting in Washington soon. However, it did not mention the date for the talks, nor did it mention if the other nations had agreed to attend.
“Egypt has received an invitation from the US administration,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the invitation was immediately accepted.
Egypt claims that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will restrict its supplies of already scarce Nile waters. Notably, Egypt depends on the Nile River for about 90 percent of its irrigation and drinking water needs and says it has historic rights to the river guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959.
Ethiopia, on the other hand, claims the dam is crucial to its economic development and has denied that the talks between the three are stalled. It has accused Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his country would not be stopped from completing the project. He even warned that Addis Ababa could deploy many millions of people in the event of any conflict over it.
“Some say things about use of force (by Egypt). It should be underlined that no force could stop Ethiopia from building a dam,” said Abiy.
However, he concluded that war is not a solution.
Egypt’s foreign ministry criticized Abiy’s comments as unacceptable.
“Egypt … expressed its shock, great concern and deep regret over comments conveyed by media and attributed to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed,” the foreign ministry said.