The United States has invited the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in an effort to mediate a feud over a giant Ethiopian hydropower dam over the Nile River. Washington is hosting the talks at the behest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who asked President Donald Trump to help mediate the dispute during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September. Egypt fears that the dam will further exacerbate its already dire water shortage woes and has asked the World Bank to help mediate among the parties. World Bank Group President David Malpass is expected to attend Wednesday’s talks if all three parties participate (Egypt and Ethiopia have already confirmed their attendance).
The meeting will be hosted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rather than the State Department, for reasons that remain unclear. The US mediation comes as Russia has been playing an increasingly active role in Africa, hosting its first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi last week. In an Oct. 3 statement, the White House said it supported the negotiations between the three countries to reach a “cooperative, sustainable and mutually beneficial agreement.”