Should Sisi be taken for his word regarding Ethiopia ?

(borkena) Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reportedly stated that he is committed to avoid conflict with Ethiopia over Nile River, reported Ahram online.

Sisi is quoted as saying “I won’t allow the Renaissance Dam to cause a crisis or problem with sisterly Ethiopia”

Should Sisi’s be taken as a departure from what appeared like bellicose tendency in the past? Does it represent that Egypt is accepting the reality that “exclusive right” claim on the basis of colonial era treaty can no longer be enforced if Egypt is to avoid confrontation with “Sisterly Ethiopia” and other riparian countries as well?

Possible clues if Sisi should be taken for his workds could be found in the traces of what Egypt has been doing in regards to Nile water even after elected president Mohammed Morsi was deposed- a time during which Sisi was influential in Egyptian politics as de facto leader.

Just over a month or so ago Egyptian spies were clandestinely deployed via South Sudan to spy on the Ethiopian Dam in addition to approaching South Sudan’s government to lobby a change in position regards to Nile. Egypt could have the means to distablize Ethiopia without risking a major war by exploiting dissidents too.

As well, intensive propaganda campaign to divide and lure riparian countries to make them swing towards rejecting Entebe Convention or at least to initiate revision of the agreement, seem to suggest that ,at least, Sisi’s statement should be received with caution.

So the question is not just “Sisterly Ethiopia.” It rather relates to accepting the reality that other riparian states could develop interest to use their rightful share of the Nile water without harming Egypt which implies that fixing the Nile issue for good takes a multilateral approach. Bilateral agreement is inadequate and not even a wise approach.

In that regards, it seems to be in Ethiopia ‘s interest to be cautious about motives of Sisi’s statement. Avoiding bilateral talks on this matter is even be wiser.

Written by Dimetros Birku
Follow on Twitter @dimetros

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