Egypt´s president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday met with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Cairo, ahead of Mnuchin´s first visit to Sudan since the end of Khartoum´s pariah status.
A statement from the Egyptian Presidency said the president and Mnuchin discussed mutual and regional issues, including the latest developments in talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a disputed dam that Ethiopia is building over the Blue Nile River.
According to the statement, El-Sissi appreciated U.S. efforts in the dam talks last year that resulted in a U.S.-crafted draft deal to resolve the years-long dispute over the massive project, Africa´s largest hydroelectric dam.
The three Nile Valley countries met Sunday in the latest push by South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union, which is mediating a deal between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Experts from the three nations and the AU were to meet Monday, but Sudan boycotted the meeting and insisted on a greater role for AU experts in the negotiations.
The draft deal, crafted by the United States in February, was initiated by Egypt but Ethiopia did not attend the signing ceremony and accused President Donald Trump´s administration of siding with Egypt. Sudan attended the meeting but did not sign.
The U.S. has suspended some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the talks and U.S. “concern about Ethiopia´s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”
Mnuchin is scheduled to travel to Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Wednesday to meet with the country´s leaders Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on a possible U.S. economic aid debt relief.
It would be the first visit by a senior U.S. official since Washington last month approved the removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.