After a seven-week interruption, talks between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt over the controversial mega-dam across the Blue Nile are set to resume on Tuesday.
The announcement by South Africa’s President and Africa Union chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa, comes days after US President Donald Trump suggested that Egypt might “blow up” the dam.
Ethiopia sees the US as siding with Egypt in the dispute and termed Trump’s remarks as “reckless, unproductive and a violation of international law” and has summoned the US ambassador in Addis Ababa.
The resumption of the talks is a “reaffirmation of the confidence that the parties have in an African-led negotiations process,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Dina Mufti, a spokesperson at Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry said the government believes Mr. Trump’s remarks will not deter the negotiations.
“The three countries are in talks with the African Union as a negotiator. This doesn’t concern the President [Trump]. The only thing that concerns him is to encourage and support us to arrive at a deal and then accept our agreements,” Dina said.
Ethiopia sees the $4.6bn (£3.5bn) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the western part of the country as an integral part of its plan to provide electricity for tens of millions of its citizens.
But Egypt and Sudan, who are dependent on the Nile waters, are concerned that it might impact their water supplies.
Despite sitting down for negotiations multiple times, the three countries have not managed to arrive at a comprehensive deal.