U.S., Sudan press for amicable solution over Ethiopia dam dispute

FILE PHOTO: Sudan's Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok addresses people as they celebrate the first anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir, at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan December 25, 2019. REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Friday called for an agreement to be reached over the dam dispute with Ethiopia and Egypt.

“We hope to reach an amicable solution soon,” Hamdok said, speaking by phone with Trump following Sudan and Israel’s announcement to normalize ties.

Trump, who held the call in front of reporters at the White House, said he had also told Egypt the same thing, saying it was a dangerous situation and that Cairo could end up “blowing up that dam.”

Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been at odds over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and Trump on Friday said he had brokered an agreement to resolve the issue but that Ethiopia had broken the pact, forcing him to cut funds.

“I had a deal done for them and then unfortunately Ethiopia broke the deal, which they should not have done. It was a big mistake,” Trump said. “They will never see that money unless they adhere to the agreement ... You can’t blame Egypt for being a little upset.”

Trump urged Hamdok to get Ethiopia to agree come accept the deal to resolve the water dispute.

“I’m telling Egypt the same thing,” Trump added.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Idrees Ali; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy