On Friday, a statement issued by the US State Department indicated that Washington has decided to unlink some of the paused aid given to Ethiopia because of its policy on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has been a ten-year old dispute causing tension between the Nile countries of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Department of State Spokesman Ned Price said that Biden will be reviewing the US’ policy on the issue and assess what role the US can play in facilitating a solution.
According to Ned Price, the US continues to support productive and collaborative talks between the three countries in question, and, in light of the situation caused by the paused US programs in Ethiopia, they will assess if each of these paused programs is still relevant and if they remain appropriate. The pause on some of the US foreign aid provided to Ethiopia has affected an income of $272 million in development and security assistance to the country, and these contributions will resume based on a few factors which were also shared by Addis Ababa.
The bitter dispute of GERD began with the construction of the dam itself, and it has since remained unresolved between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Tensions have risen further when Ethiopia decided to unilaterally fill the reservoir behind the dam. Egypt and Sudan have strongly objected to the unilateral decision of Ethiopia, which fears the dam will affect the downstream of the Nile and lower the quantity of water flowing to the respective countries. Both Cairo and Khartoum heavily rely on the water coming from the Nile for drinking water.