WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will continue to work with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan until they sign an accord on a giant Blue Nile hydropower dam, after failing to secure signatures from the three countries this week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday
The three countries had expected to sign an agreement in Washington this week on the filling and operation of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), but Ethiopia skipped the meeting and only Egypt has initialed the deal thus far.
In a statement released late Friday, Mnuchin said he held separate bilateral talks with key ministers from Egypt and Sudan over the past two days after Ethiopia asked for a delay in what was to be the final round of talks.
Ethiopia on Saturday expressed its disappointment at the U.S. statement following the talks. The government is, however, “committed to continue its engagement” with Egypt and Sudan to finalize an agreement on the initial filling and annual operation of the dam, it said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear whether further talks would be scheduled.
Mnuchin said he looked forward to Ethiopia concluding its internal consultations to allow a signing of the deal “at the earliest possible time”, and stressed that final testing and filling of the dam “should not take place without an agreement.”
“The United States reaffirms its commitment to remain engaged with the three countries until they sign the final agreement,” he said.