Ethiopians in US stage demo over controversial dam

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Hundreds of Ethiopian demonstrators on Thursday took to the streets of the US capital Washington to demand that the United States and the World Bank back off from allegedly meddling in talks over the future of a controversial dam over the Nile river.

The demonstrators said Washington and World Bank were threatening the Ethiopian delegation to accept a new agreement on sharing the water from Africa's longest river during US sponsored talks.

The demonstrators said that currently the Ethiopian delegation has been forced into a weak negotiating position with little outside support and came under pressure to negotiate on sharing the Nile water.

The demonstration comes after a member of the Ethiopian delegation disclosed that the US and World Bank have switched sides and were now backing Egypt, allegedly abandoning their role as nautral observers.

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan were expected to approve a common deal on the filling and operations of the dam considering anticipated droughts of varying magnitudes but they failed to do so during their negotiations last week.

Accordingly Ethiopia withdrew from the trilateral negotiations with Egypt and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) scheduled to take place in Washington from February 27-28, due to unfinished consultation with national stakeholders.

According to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia’s negotiating team will not come to the table without completed domestic consultations as it has not yet completed talks local domestic experts and stakeholders.

The three countries have been holding extensive talks for almost nine years since the beginning of the construction of GERD to resolve their difference on the use of the water from the Nile.

Egypt and Sudan fear that the GERD would diminish its share of the water, a theory Ethiopia has dismissed as unfounded.


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