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Egypt closely monitoring Ethiopia’s plans for the Great Renaissance Dam

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Egypt is closely monitoring with “deep concern and regret” the statements by Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abyi Ahmed, in the Ethiopian Parliament, as to how to deal with the issue of the Great Renaissance Dam.

The words of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, which paves the way for all eventualities, including the military option to protect his country’s rights to build the Renaissance Dam, are “surprising” to the extent that they are contrary to the principles and spirit of the African Union Charter, especially since Egypt has always preferred negotiations to resolve the dispute related to the Dam between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, “in all transparency and good faith.”

The ministry also expresses surprise at the statements made a few days after the Prime Minister of Ethiopia received the Nobel Peace Prize, which should have prompted the Ethiopian side to demonstrate political will and flexibility to reach an agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries involved.

During a question-and-answer session in Parliament, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia made a startling statement saying, “If we are to go to war, we can mobilize millions of people. If some can fire missiles, others can use bombs.

He insisted that his country was determined to proceed with the dam project launched by the country’s former leaders, because, according to him, it’s an “excellent project.”

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister recalled that the war “was not in anyone’s interest and that Ethiopia had no desire whatsoever to harm Egypt.”

Tensions continue between Egypt and Ethiopia over the “Great Dam of the Renaissance.” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is expected to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on 23 October 2019 on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit. The face-to-face meeting is fraught with consequences.

Cairo is trying to involve a mediator in the crisis. The Egyptians have already contacted the United States, Russia, China or the UN Security Council. But so far, the Ethiopians refuse any conciliator. Last month President al-Sissi told the UN that Egypt would never allow “Addis Ababa to impose a de facto situation” by filling the dam reservoir without prior agreement.

The Blue Nile, which has its source in Ethiopia, joins the White Nile in Khartoum to form the Nile that crosses Sudan and Egypt before flowing into the Mediterranean. The Renaissance Dam is expected to become Africa’s largest hydropower plant with a production of 6 000 megawatts.

This unique infrastructure in Africa, built by Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile, is two-thirds complete. The Ethiopians now want to fill the reservoir as soon as possible, while the Egyptians refuse this option arguing there could be a sharp decline in their water resources.

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