ASMARA, 28 February 2021 – The U.S. government says its freeze on security and development assistance to Ethiopia is not linked to the dispute over filling Ethiopia’s mega dam.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the suspension of aid flows to Ethiopia at the end of last year, irked by the ongoing armed conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, sources close to the U.S. State Department have told reporters.
The halt in aid flows worth an estimated $272 million does not affect humanitarian assistance which continues to flow, according the State Department.
The $4.6 billion GERD is nearly completed on the Blue Nile River but both Egypt and Sudan argue that its filling and management will threaten their water supply.
The suspension came shortly after Ethiopia left the American-led mediation of the dispute over the second phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
As a result, many observers and officials within the Ethiopian government linked the halt to America taking offense that Ethiopia had walked away from the mediation.
Beffore withdrawing from the mediation, Ethiopia accused the United States of siding with Egypt in the dispute.
At the height of the disagreement with downstream countries – Egypt and Sudan – former U.S. President Donald Trump caused an uproar by saying Egypt would “blow up” the dam project.
Egypt says the Grand Ethiopian Rrenaissance Dam (GERD) represents an existential threat given Cairo’s heavy dependence on the Nile River.