FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump greets Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday and voiced support for negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over a giant hydroelectric dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, the White House said.
Egypt’s foreign minister said last week the Trump administration had invited the three countries to a meeting in Washington on Nov. 6 to try to break the deadlock in the talks.
Egypt fears the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) could restrict already scarce supplies of water from the Nile, on which it is almost entirely dependent. Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its economic development.
“President Trump expressed support for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s ongoing negotiations to reach a collaborative agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
The statement did not mention any meeting in Washington.
In recent weeks, Egypt has called for an external mediator on the issue, saying three-way talks have been exhausted.
Ethiopia has previously rejected the idea, and is expected to start filling the reservoir behind the dam next year.
Reporting by Eric Beech; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Sandra Maler