Is Egypt exploiting the situaiton in Ethiopia?
Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is warning Ethiopia for the second time over the Grand Renaissance Dam construction.
Earlier, on November 12, 2017, a Tripartite National Committee (which is drawn from Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan) meeting was held in Cairo to discuss the Renaissance Dam. But it did not bear fruit as as there was disagreement on the part of the host country on guidelines to assess the impacts of the dam on Egypt and Sudan. While Egyptian negotiators approved of the impact assessment guidelines Ethiopia and Sudan rejected it. Sudan seeks to make economic gains and power supply from the Grand Renaissance Dam.
Egypt announced last week that negotiation effort on impact study, which was to be carried out by a hired firm, failed.
President Sissi told Egyptians that water is a matter of “life and death for Egypt.” Egyptian Foreign Affairs ministry, Sameh Shoukry, reportedly discussed the matter with the United States secretary of state Rex Tillerson pointing out that matter is of a grave concern to Egypt.
On November 14, Egypt Daily News reported that “Experts, officials designate Ethiopian Dam as imminent threat” and indicated that future decision on the dam is in the hands of political leaders.
More than eighty percent of Nile river, the longest river in the world, water comes from Ethiopia. Egyptian president rants that “no one can touch Egypt’s share of the water” and that water is a matter of national security, of a matter of life and death. And share of the water, for Egyptian politicians including the president, is set out on colonial time treaty which Ethiopia never signed.
Ethiopian government did not yet reply to war threat like the speech of the Egyptian president. Apparently, Egypt sought to destabilize Ethiopia using radical Oromo groups based abroad and Ethiopian government has been accusing Egypt of intervention in internal affairs of Ethiopia.
In the past, Egyptian leaders ruled out military confrontation to pursue military confrontation as a means to attain motives regarding Nile river. Now, the tone of rhetoric from Egyptian leaders is changed. Perhaps, Egypt is thinking that the policies of an ethno-supremacist regime of Tigray People’s Liberation Front have weakened Ethiopia internally and made it vulnerable.
There was a perception among Ethiopians that the dam is not a priority for Ethiopia but on matters of Ethiopian interest, it could be a miscalculation on the part of Egyptian leaders to think that Ethiopia is weak and will give away its interest easily.
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