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US decision to halt aid to Ethiopia over GERD risks complicating talks

A decision by the United States to suspend a portion of its aid to Ethiopia over issues related to its Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) may further complicate talks scheduled to resume in mid-September.

The announcement US President Trump’s administration on 1 September that it would halt $130m in aid to Ethiopia came days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sudan on the first direct Tel Aviv – Khartoum flight.
Although Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in Sudan’s capital shortly after Pompeo, it was unclear whether the two met.

US in Sudan
Pompeo was making the visit to Sudan as part of his five-day tour to push for closer relations between Arab countries and Israel, following the United Arab Emirate’s decision to normalise diplomatic ties with Jerusalem.

The GERD issue inevitably came up in his meeting with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, whose administration has been pushing to be removed from a US state sponsors of terror list.
According to US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, Pompeo and Hamdok “agreed that achieving [a] mutually beneficial agreement among Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt on the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is crucial to regional stability.”

Behind US decision to halt aid

In a separate statement, the US State Department said that the decision to halt some of its aid to Ethiopia was informed by its concern about the country’s “unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.” Read More here.

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