WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will chair the ministerial meeting on Wednesday with the US Treasury on the Renaissance Dam crisis.
The White House last month sent a letter to the three capitals and the World Bank urging them to find a solution to the conflict over the issue of the Nile water and the Renaissance Dam, following an invitation by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to his US counterpart Donald Trump to intervene to resolve the crisis of the Renaissance Dam.
Trump asked the Treasury Department, not the State Department, to oversee mediation between the three countries and to host a ministerial meeting in Washington. A former diplomat told Al-Jazeera that "the Treasury Department does not have the knowledge of the State Department of the crisis and its details and history."
Boston University professor Robert Loftis also criticized this choice. "Assigning the Treasury Department to deal with this file is a big blow to the State Department. These negotiations are bigger than money accounts. The State Department should have been given a bigger role. Politically, developmentally and economically, the State Department has much more experience than the Treasury. "
White House adviser Killian Conway says the US role in resolving the Renaissance Dam crisis comes because the Trump administration is trying to be active in overcoming problems around the world and is adopting unconventional ways of dealing with conflicts.
Loftis believes in his talk to Al Jazeera Net that "Washington mediation has great significance, as the two countries Egypt and Ethiopia are one of the most important regional allies of the United States, whether in North Africa or in the east."
Loftis, who is also a former diplomat who has served in several African countries, said the failure of the three countries to compromise prompted Washington to intervene mainly in a technical issue.
Diplomatic sources in Washington told Al Jazeera Net that Washington has always been interested in the issue of the Renaissance Dam, and that it imagined that its allies, Cairo and Addis Ababa, could resolve technical issues related to the filling and operation of the dam through negotiation.
The American role
With regard to the US role in the Nile Basin, Washington has conducted environmental studies to examine opportunities and constraints, which gives it a significant boost to play a role in bridging contradictory views on technical issues.
Professor Robert Loftis told Al Jazeera Net that Washington "believes in its ability to play a mediating role because of its strong relationship with Egypt and Ethiopia. Great influence on both sides. "
On the other hand, Minister Mnuchin and the President of the World Bank, David Malpas, have a close relationship, as the former US Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs and Mnuchen was his immediate president. With many development projects in Egypt and Ethiopia.
The United States has invited irrigation ministers from several countries, including Egypt and Ethiopia, to visit the Hoover Dam, the largest dam in the United States, and participate in a workshop held in Nevada in 2015 on the cooperation of countries sharing rivers, in order to build confidence between the parties And show American interest in the issue.
Washington also sent an assistant secretary of state for African affairs to the three capitals before the end of last year to learn more about the positions of the three capitals.