Ethiopia skips latest US talks with Egypt over dam dispute

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on February 22, 2020 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) meeting with Ethiopia's former prime minister and special envoy Hailemariam Desalegn (C-L) at the presidential palace in the capital Cairo, accompanied by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (C-R) and intelligence chief Abbas Kamel (2nd-R). (AFP)
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Updated 26 February 2020

Ethiopia skips latest US talks with Egypt over dam dispute

  • The dispute over the dam pits Ethiopia’s desire to pull millions out of poverty against Egypt’s concerns over a critical water supply
  • The US became involved in the talks after Egypt’s invitation

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia will skip the latest round of US-brokered talks this week on a disputed Nile dam project with Egypt and Sudan, the country’s water ministry announced Wednesday.
A final deal on the massive Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam had been expected this month, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in his Ethiopia visit last week that an agreement now might take months as “a great deal of work remains.”
The dispute over what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam pits Ethiopia’s desire to pull millions out of poverty against Egypt’s concerns over a critical water supply.
Ethiopia will skip the talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday “because the country’s delegation hasn’t concluded its consultation with relevant stakeholders,” the ministry of water, irrigation and energy said on its Facebook page. “The decision has been communicated with the US Treasury secretary.”
The announcement came amid widespread concerns in Ethiopia that its delegation has been pressured by the US to reach a deal on $4.6 billion dam that is nearing completion. The US became involved in the talks after Egypt’s invitation.
“Ethiopia will never sign on an agreement that will surrender its right to use the Nile River,” the Ethiopian ambassador to the US, Fitsum Arega, said on Twitter.
Egypt wants the dam to be filled more slowly to reduce restrictions on the flow of the Nile.
Ethiopia says the dam is needed to provide electricity for development. In January it announced that it will start filling the dam, now more than 70% complete, in July at the start of the rainy season.
“There was lots of discomfort recently due to the behavior and changing role of the US among policy makers in Ethiopia,” political analyst Abel Abate Demissie told The Associated Press.


UK’s Raab says unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target COVID-19 work

Updated 10 min 8 sec ago

UK’s Raab says unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target COVID-19 work

  • Raab’s comments come after Britain also accused Russia on Thursday of trying to interfere in its 2019 general election

LONDON: British foreign minister Dominic Raab on Thursday said it was completely unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target research on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Raab said, following a joint statement by British Canadian and US cybersecurity services.

“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behavior, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.

“The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyberattacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account.”

Raab’s comments come after Britain also accused Russia on Thursday of trying to interfere in its 2019 general election by illicitly acquiring sensitive documents relating to a planned free trade agreement with Washington and leaking them online.

In response, a senior Russian lawmaker said the allegations were “anti-Russian nonsense” and undermined UK-Russia relations.