ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopia will skip the last round of US-mediated negotiations this week on a disputed Nile dam project with Egypt and Sudan, the country's water ministry announced Wednesday.
A final deal on the huge Ethiopian Renaissance dam was expected this month, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on his visit to Ethiopia last week that a agreement now can take months as "too much work remains".
The dispute over what will be Africa's largest hydroelectric dam puts Ethiopia's desire to lift millions of people out of poverty against Egypt's concerns about a critical water supply.
Ethiopia will skip negotiations in Washington on Thursday and Friday "because the country's delegation has not completed its consultation with stakeholders," said the ministry of water, irrigation and energy on its Facebook page. "The decision has been communicated to the US Treasury Secretary."
The announcement came amid widespread concerns in Ethiopia that its delegation was pressured by the United States to reach an agreement on the $ 4.6 billion dam that is about to be completed. The United States became involved in the negotiations after Egypt's invitation.
Egypt wants the dam to be filled more slowly to reduce restrictions on Nile flow.
Ethiopia says the dam is needed to provide electricity for development. In January, it announced that it will begin to fill the dam, now more than 70% completed, in July, at the beginning of the rainy season.
"Recently, there has been a lot of discomfort due to the behavior and changing role of the US among policymakers in Ethiopia," political analyst Abel Abate Demissie told the Associated Press.