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Addis Shocked by US Move to Cut Aid

Ethiopian officials are demanding an explanation from the U.S. after it announced this week it would cut $100 million in aid after Ethiopia’s decision to begin filling a reservoir at a massive hydropower dam on the Nile River.  Egypt and Sudan are opposed to the dam, which they fear could reduce their water supply. The U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced it would place a “temporary pause” on tens of millions of dollars in foreign assistance to Ethiopia, in response to authorities there filling a reservoir at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been locked in a bitter dispute over the GERD and the waters of the Nile for nearly a decade. The U.S. entered the fray last year and attempted to broker an agreement, only for Ethiopia to step away from those talks due to suspicions over a bias in Washington towards Egypt. In Washington, talks over whether to cut aid to Ethiopia have been going on for weeks. While some State Department officials opposed the move due to the possible diplomatic fallout, others close to the White House and President Donald Trump pushed to make an example of Ethiopia for starting to fill the reservoir without first getting an agreement with Egypt and Sudan.