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Trump meets Nile dam dispute reps, Ethiopia maintains hard stance

Trump meets Nile dam dispute reps, Ethiopia maintains hard stance

Egypt

U.S. president Donald Trump met with delegations from the Nile Dam countries at the White House ahead of talks with the head of the treasury in Washington.

Trump said the meeting was to find a solution to a “long running dispute” between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

He added that: “The meeting went well and discussions will continue during the day!” The US treasury chief, Steven Mnuchin, is expected to meet with the delegations for detailed deliberations.

But even as the meetings are yet to be concluded, Ethiopia continues to wield a hard stance on the nature of the meeting.

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nebiat Getachew told the BBC: “This is not a platform for technical negotiations. But we [will] go there… and all the parties involved in the negotiations will explain their position.”

“This is not [a negotiation] and the [US] is not mediating. That cannot be the [right] language.” The official stressed that a technical solution could be found to Egypt’s concerns.

Last week, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs chief, Sameh Shoukry said the U.S. was acting as an intermediary in the talks.

“The U.S. administration invited the three countries to meet in the United States on Nov. 6 in the presence of representatives of the American administration to discuss breaking the deadlock in the ongoing negotiations,” Shoukry told a news conference.

A US official said earlier this month that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had asked president Trump to get involved in the dispute when they met in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Trump agreed to reach out to Ethiopia and offered the “good offices” of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to mediate, the official said on condition of anonymity. Sisi on Tuesday praised Trump’s “peace offer” on Twitter.

READ MORE: Nile dam: Egypt needs water, Ethiopia seeks electricity, Sudan wants both