Pompeo denies the U.S. did not put Pressure on Ethiopia

Ethiopia did not ask the United States or the World Bank to be part of the negotiation with Egypt and Sudan on the filling and operation of the Grand Renaissance Dam. They became “observers” because Egypt wanted the US as mediator. The outcome,so far, is that the US is playing crucial role by putting pressure on Ethiopia to help Egypt get away with Ethiopia’s right to use water from the Nile for generating electric power, as many Ethiopians seem to believe. The US secretary of State Mike Pompeo denies it.

Mike Pompeo in Ethipoia. Photo credit : Foreign Affairs Ministry of Ethiopia

February 19, 2020

Negotiation on the operation and filling of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam has been going on for many months now. 

And most Ethiopians had the impression that the United States and the World Bank, they are attending the negotiation since November 2019, are putting pressure on Ethiopia to compromise its right to use water from the Nile River while 80 percent of which is originating from the country.

Donald Trump himself following the negotiation with keen interest as he seems to have seen an opportunity to be ceased to please his “friend” – Egyptian President El-Sisi.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo,  was in Ethiopia for a three days working visit. He and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew had a joint-presser at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

They did not take many questions apparently, but a journalist from Ethiopia’s state-owned broadcaster ( Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation) had the opportunity to ask Mike Pompeo about the Pressure that the United States is putting on Ethiopia.

 “…the Americans, stands to develop Egypt and putting Pressure on Sudan and Ethiopia.  Due to this, Ethiopian peoples are becoming, at least at this particular event, distressed of the American stand.  What do you say for the people, Secretary Mike Pompeo?,” Asmamaw, EBC journalist asked Pompeo – according to information from the U.S. embassy.

Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump has made “a priority to try and work with each of the three significantly impacted countries to try and get a good outcome for all three countries, to effectively mediate.  And so we’ve been working on this.”

He used a diplomatic language to indicate that the U.S. has something to “offer” but it is not imposing solutions.

He said, “…I think there’s a solution to that that will work, but our mission set is not to impose a solution on this, but rather to get the three countries to come together around a solution that each of them acknowledges works for the concerns of all three nations…”

However, both Mike Pompeo and Gedu Andargachew made it clear during the presser an agreement is not reached, although there is consensus on many of the elements of the agreement regarding the filling and operation of the Dam.  

It could take months before a final agreement is reached. Pompeo indicated that when he said, “A great deal of work remains, but I am optimistic that over the coming months we can resolve this.”

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