BY: TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
- The fresh row between Ethiopia and Egypt has repeatedly received mixed reactions in Egyptian local media.
- Egypt has recently issued a fresh warning against Ethiopia as it prepares to fill the dam.
- About 65% of Ethiopia’s estimated 122 million population lacks access to any form of electricity.
Egypt says Ethiopia is deliberately delaying talks on Nile dispute so as to “buy time” in order to continue filling its giant dam being built on River Nile.
“It is regrettable that Ethiopian officials continue to express their unwillingness to resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union (AU) in a new attempt to buy time and continue filling the dam without an agreement,” Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Hamdy Loza said on Wednesday.
Cairo’s latest accusation came hours after Addis Ababa announced that it will fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) without seeking anyone’s permission.
“Ethiopia has no obligation to request permission from anyone to fill the dam,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Meles Alem told journalists at a press briefing on Wednesday.
Ethiopia is preparing to fill the massive dam for the fourth time in disregard of Egypt’s repeated warnings.
“Ethiopia’s remarks to proceed filling the dam regardless of the downstream countries’ rights are another evidence of unilateralism that goes beyond the scope of negotiation,” Loza said.
The Egyptian official further condemned statements by Ethiopia that had accused Cairo of “politicising” the Nile dam dispute.
Loza said Addis Ababa’s continued claim of Egyptian politicisation of the GERD issue is an attempt to evade legal responsibility and reflects Ethiopia’s indifference to the principles of the international law and good neighbourliness.
The fresh row between Ethiopia and Egypt has repeatedly received mixed reactions in Egyptian local media.
Prominent pro-state host Ahmed Moussa said Addis Ababa intentionally built the GERD to “harm” Egypt and Sudan.
Opposition TV host Muhammad Nasser blamed the Egyptian government and media for not taking a stronger stance against the issue.
Egypt fears on water supply
Egypt fears that the multi-billion-dollar Ethiopian dam, which would be Africa’s largest, will eventually diminish its historic water supply from the Nile. However, Ethiopia is pushing for its own water security.
Addis Ababa argues that the dam will not have a significant impact on the natural water flow into the downstream countries.
Last month, Ethiopia announced that 90 percent of GERD’s construction work had been completed.
Egypt has recently issued a fresh warning against Ethiopia as it prepares to fill the dam.
“All options are open, and all alternatives remain available. Egypt has its capabilities on dealing with its foreign relations,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned.
The dam, which is being built near the Sudanese border, is solely financed by Ethiopians and is a crucial project for the country’s development as it is expected to provide clean renewable energy and lift millions out of poverty.
About 65 percent of Ethiopia’s estimated 122 million population lacks access to any form of electricity.
The much-needed electricity is hoped to facilitate economic growth for Ethiopia and the region.
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been engaged in negotiations for more than a decade to settle the dispute over Nile water resources, but the parties could not reach a final deal.
(Source: The East African)