A race between Egypt and Ethiopia to influence decision makers in Washington

Julian Beke, editor-in-chief of the (Foreign Lobby) website, said that Ethiopia has contracted with public relations companies to communicate with the US administration after former President Donald Trump’s position on the Renaissance Dam issue, which is biased towards Egypt’s position.

Julian added in an interview with (Al Evening) on ​​Al Jazeera Mubasher that the focus on the dam file has become less, because Ethiopia is under pressure regarding other crises at the present time, such as the Tigray region crisis and the criticisms leveled by the administration of President Joe Biden and the Democratic and Republican parties for the Ethiopian government’s dealing with those the crisis.

He explained that this matter constituted a transformation for Egypt, saying that Cairo continues to put pressure on the file of the Renaissance Dam, in addition to other files.

He pointed out that Egypt contracted with one of the largest public relations offices in Washington immediately after the US presidential elections, adding that the one who heads the public relations company that Egypt contracted with was heading the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives earlier and is always present in Congress in order to clarify the position Egypt from the dam.

Egypt contracted with (Brownstein Hyatt-Farber Partner) a public relations and law firm, last November, for a year, for $65,000 per month.

The website (Foreign Lobby) stated that the contract signed between the Egyptian embassy and the company stipulates the formation of a bipartisan working group to “provide services in the field of government relations and strategic advice on matters submitted to the United States government.”

According to the website, the team is supervised by Edward Royce, a former Republican congressman from California and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2013 to 2018.

He added that Nadim al-Shamy, the former chief of staff for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and who has spent nearly a quarter century in Congress, is expected to co-supervise the team’s work with Royce.

During his meeting with Al Jazeera Mubasher, Julian explained that there is a bloc of African Americans that supports Ethiopia’s position on the dam, and that this group called on the Trump administration not to take sides with Egypt’s position.

Julian stated that African Americans have a strong presence in Congress and some chair important committees there.

The Ethiopian embassy in Washington signed a contract worth $35,000 per month with the law firm (Venable) to “provide communication services with the US Congress and the federal government.”

Washington, in cooperation with the World Bank, sponsored a round of negotiations regarding the Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Nile, in February 2020, and the round ended with a draft agreement signed by Egypt in the initial letters, while Ethiopia refused to sign it.

And last September, the Trump administration froze $100 million in aid to Ethiopia due to the lack of progress in talks with Egypt and Sudan on the dam.

In February, the Trump administration reinstated aid to Ethiopia after it had suspended it.

In a joint statement, Egypt and Sudan reiterated, yesterday, Wednesday, in a joint statement, the danger of Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of the Renaissance Dam because of its dire effects on the two countries.

The statement, which was issued after talks held by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation of the two countries in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, added that the two parties “agreed on the serious risks and dire consequences of the unilateral filling of the Renaissance Dam,” and stressed that “the negotiations sponsored by the African Union reached a dead end due to Ethiopian intransigence. “.

The last round of negotiations on the Renaissance Dam between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia ended without progress, and Addis Ababa insists on implementing a second filling of the Renaissance Dam next July, even if a tripartite agreement is not reached on the dam.

Last year, Ethiopia completed the first filling of the dam without reaching an agreement with the downstream countries.

Cairo and Khartoum adhere to the need to first reach a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the dam and a mechanism for exchanging information to preserve their facilities built on the Nile, as well as a mechanism for settling disputes between the three countries.
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