Trump calls Egypt's Sisi, backs talks on disputed dam on Nile

US President Donald Trump. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
US President Donald Trump. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

President Donald Trump backs talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to resolve the ongoing dam dispute between the three African countries, the White House said.

The US leader voiced his support in a phone call with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Oval Office said in a statement on Monday.

More:

"President Trump expressed support for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan's ongoing negotiations to reach a collaborative agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," Judd Deere, White House spokesperson said.

El-Sisi thanked Trump on social media for his support in the trilateral negotiations describing the US leader
as being of "unique standing with the power in dealing with conflicts... and finding crucial solutions for them."

Egypt's foreign minister said last week the Trump administration had invited the three countries to a meeting in Washington on November 6 to try to break the deadlock in the talks.

Cairo fears the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) could restrict already scarce supplies of water from the Nile, on which it is almost entirely dependent. Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its economic development.

External mediator

In recent weeks, Egypt has called for an external mediator on the issue, saying three-way talks have been exhausted.

Ethiopia has previously rejected the idea, and is expected to start filling the reservoir behind the dam next year.

Last month, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told parliament, in reference to the dam, that "if we are going to war... we can deploy many millions".

Egypt has slammed his strident comments as "unacceptable".

Abiy, who won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to heal tensions with neighbouring Eritrea, emphasised however, that negotiations would be the best way to resolve the issue.

Ethiopia and Sudan have confirmed their attendance at the summit after Egypt quickly accepted the US offer to mediate.

The Nile is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it traverses.

Its main tributaries, the White and Blue Niles, converge in the Sudanese capital Khartoum before flowing north through Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

Analysts fear the three Nile basin countries could be drawn into a conflict if the escalating spat is not resolved before the dam begins operating.

Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Have you gone out to eat a restaurant since restrictions have lifted?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes I have
13% - 979 votes
No, but I plan to
16% - 1149 votes
No, and I don't plan to
71% - 5148 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.98
(+1.01)
ZAR/GBP
21.33
(+0.89)
ZAR/EUR
19.17
(+0.89)
ZAR/AUD
11.80
(+0.90)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.95)
Gold
1803.20
(+0.55)
Silver
18.45
(+1.19)
Platinum
840.00
(+0.42)
Brent Crude
42.97
(-0.05)
Palladium
1934.00
(+1.41)
All Share
55628.05
(+0.70)
Top 40
51330.69
(+0.80)
Financial 15
10250.95
(+1.63)
Industrial 25
77605.35
(+0.98)
Resource 10
52116.45
(+0.19)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo