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U.S. is assessing its role in GERD process

The GERD (UN photo)February 19, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The United States is assessing what role it can play to bring the three riparian countries to strike a deal over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, said the new American administration on Friday.

The United States, the European Union and the African Union are involved in the stalled process as observers. Washington even went to host two rounds of talks in 2019 without tangible result as Ethiopian missed the second round, considering the Trump administration as pro-Egyptian.

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson, on Friday told reporters that the Biden administration is still supportive of the efforts of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to reach an agreement on the GERD which is a major issue for the three countries.

"We’re reviewing our GERD policy and assessing the role that we can play in facilitating a solution between those parties," Price further stressed.

Ethiopia’s giant new hydropower dam on the Blue Nile gradually has become a source of regional troubles as Addis Ababa continues the implementation of its plans turning a deaf ear to Egypt’s vital demand for water and Sudan’s small dams which would be damaged by the uncoordinated release of water.

Ethiopia also already said they would conduct the second filling of the dam next July unilaterally, refusing to consider the negative impact the first filling caused in the water supply network in Sudan in July 2020.

Asked about the recent decision of the State Department to delink the suspension of financial aid to Ethiopia over its dispute with Egypt over the dam project, Price said the resumption of the paused aid actually will be subjected to some factors.

"We have informed the Ethiopian Government of this decision. The resumption of temporarily paused assistance programs will be assessed based on a number of factors," he said before to add that the humanitarian aid will continue to be not affected by these factors.

"When it comes to specific amounts, the amount of State and AID security and development assistance currently impacted by the temporary pause on certain foreign assistance is approximately $272 million, and that includes funding from FY 2020 and prior fiscal years," he said.

(ST)