Addis Ababa, October 27/2020(ENA) US President Donald Trump, escalating tensions between two long-standing American allies, Egypt and Ethiopia, over a mega-dam on a tributary of the River Nile marks the biggest diplomatic failure of his administration in Africa, BBC reported.
President Trump said last week that Egypt might “blow up” the Ethiopian-built dam, despite boasting in January that he deserved a Nobel Peace Prize because he had “made a deal”.
Trump’s comments were vague, but seemed to be a reference to his intervention, at the request of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi”, to resolve the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Egypt sees the dam as an “existential threat” to its survival, a concern shared, albeit to a lesser extent, by Sudan, BBC stated, and underscored Ethiopia, on the other hand, regards the dam as vital for its energy needs.
Citing Kenya-based Horn of Africa security analyst Rashid Abdi for saying US mediation over the dam had worsened tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, it pointed out that Trump has become a “hate figure for Ethiopians”.
“Ethiopia is stepping up security around the dam,” Abdi said.
He said this showed Trump’s failure to understand how global diplomacy worked.
Trump has misconceived notion that you can cut a deal like in business, he said, adding that he left the US Treasury to play the lead role in negotiations, when foreign policy is supposed to be conducted by the State Department.
The consequences have been to aggravate an already bad situation, Abdi added.
“Ethiopia feels betrayed by America, and Trump is now a hate-figure for many Ethiopians,” Abdi noted.
The US has decided to cut a reported 100 million USD aid to Ethiopia for the accusation of negotiating in bad faith following its decision to press ahead with filling the dam before addressing Egypt’s and Sudan’s concerns about the flow of water to their countries.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most-populous state, is a key US ally in the fight against militant Islamists in the volatile Horn of Africa.