GERD: Craig Burkhardt picked to get Abiy back in Trump’s good books
With negotiations with Egypt on the Ethiopian mega-dam GERD at a gridlock, Abiy Ahmed Ali is hoping to win over Cairo’s ally, Donald Trump.
Addis Ababa’s ambassador to Washington, Fitsum Arega Gebrekidan, has chosen a staunch Republican to promote Ethiopia’s position on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Craig Burkhardt, the lawyer in charge of defending the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali’s unwavering view that the GERD is to be filled with or without Egypt’s consent, is a loyal supporter of US President Donald Trump. He previously chaired the Republican National Lawyers Association and advised Trump’s campaign team ahead of the 2016 elections.
Abiy’s new lobbyist, who currently works for Barnes and Thornburg, had forged strong ties with the previous US Republican administration as well. In 2003, George W. Bush appointed Burkhardt as the legal adviser to the US Department of Commerce, before he took on a similar role at the Bureau of Industry and Security.
The Ethiopian ambassador is counting on Burkhardt’s networks at the White House to get the GERD’s imminent filling endorsed as Addis Ababa’s negotiations with Khartoum, and especially Cairo, have reached an impasse. After failing to mediate the dispute, the United States is no longer just an observer of the negotiations, now overseen by the African Union.
Ethiopia has accused Trump’s administration of supporting Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Abiy wants to use these close ties to force the Egyptian president to concede. Now years into the talks, the Ethiopian prime minister is keen for closure on the matter as soon as possible and has given Burkhardt just three months to win Trump around.
SR News Source
Craig S Burkhardt is a lobbyist who was hired by 15 client(s) in 2020.
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