Addis Ababa, August 31/2020(ENA) “Playing political hardball with Ethiopia (over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) will not only fail to obtain Washington’s desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States rallies against Trump,” Former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia and political analyst David Shinn said.
U.S. current measure to halt some foreign assistance funding to Ethiopia over the dam dispute would hurt Washington’s desired result, he noted.
The Foreign Policy (FP) reported last week that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt America’s foreign assistance to Ethiopia as President Donald Trump administration was attempting to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the construction of a dam being built on the Nile River.
The decision could affect up to 130 USD million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, it said.
The U.S. programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding.
The seasoned ambassador David Shinn pointed out that playing political hardball with Ethiopia will fail to obtain Washington’s desired result.
The former ambassador wrote on his blog that “the one issue Ethiopians and the Ethiopian Diaspora are united on today is completion of the GERD. And playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain Washington’s desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States rallies against Trump.”
There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia.
It is to be recalled that Ethiopia rejected a U.S.-brokered agreement and the US Secretary of United States Department of The Treasury issued a statement in the absence of Ethiopia which was not even signed by Sudan.
In this regard, Ethiopia argues the United States-led negotiation of the GERD with the World Bank did not work out due to lack of neutrality and the country has achieved the first phase of the dam filling in this rainy season.
Thereafter, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have made some progress on the dispute in talks mediated by the African Union; and they have agreed to continue negotiating to reach a comprehensive solution.