US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman kicked off on Tuesday an African tour that includes Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan.
He will hold meetings with officials from the respective governments, as well as the United Nations and the African Union, the US Department of State announced on Monday.
Feltman’s visits are aimed at addressing the complex political, security and humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa. He concludes his tour on May 13.
“He will also meet with a range of political stakeholders and humanitarian organizations and coordinate US policy across the region to advance that goal.”
He is scheduled to discuss a peaceful settlement of a number of outstanding issues, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the border tension between Sudan and Ethiopia.
Appointed on April 23, the veteran US diplomat will discuss efforts to end growing tensions between Cairo and Khartoum, on the one hand, and Addis Ababa, on the other, over the second filling of the dam reservoir on the Blue Nile.
According to observers, the envoy’s visit comes days after Addis Ababa announced the near completion of the dam construction and preparations for the second filling when the rainy season begins in July.
Tensions have increased as Ethiopia insists on moving forward with its plans before reaching a legally binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry slammed Tuesday what it described as the “unjustified, provocative and aggressive propaganda campaign launched by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs against Ethiopia.”
In a statement published on its official Facebook page, the Ministry stressed that Addis Ababa has always refrained from responding to the many “fabricated stories” in the press released by Sudan because it takes into consideration the historical and fraternal relations between their peoples.
However, it accused Sudan of violating international principles, bilateral agreements and joint border mechanisms.
It pointed to the “unprecedented Sudanese military actions that have led to looting and burning of property, killing of civilians and the displacement of thousands of Ethiopians.”
“The downstream countries’ insistence to monopolize the Nile water and politicize technical issues on the GERD are the main challenges facing the tripartite negotiations,” the statement noted.