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The U.S. holds the aid to Ethiopia no longer connected to the dam dispute

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ADDIS ABABA, 20 February, 2021 (TON): The U.S. has decided to de-link its suspension of millions of dollars of aid to Ethiopia from that country's dispute with Egypt over a massive hydroelectric dam project.

However, early Friday the State Department said that albeit of it, it does not mean all the roughly $272 million in security and development assistance will immediately start to flow, and it depends on more recent developments, an apparent reference to the deadly conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

The State Department said humanitarian assistance remains exempt from the aid suspension. It said it has informed Ethiopia's government. A spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ethiopians were furious after former President Donald Trump last year directed the suspension of aid to their country in a rare example of his direct involvement in an African issue. Ethiopia had left a U.S.-led attempt to mediate the dispute with Egypt, alleging bias. Trump also caused an uproar by saying downstream Egypt would ``blow up'' the dam project that Cairo considers an existential threat.

Ethiopia asserts that the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that it has nearly completed on the Blue Nile River is essential for development and the pulling of millions of people out of poverty. Egypt says it threatens its water supply.

Ethiopia is now under pressure from the U.S. and others including the European Union and United Nations over the deadly fighting in its northern Tigray region, where some 6 million people have been largely cut off from the world since fighting began in November between Ethiopian and allied forces and Tigray ones.

 

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