The way Ethiopian Foreign Minister sees it, Egyptian attempt to secure a military base in Ethiopia’s neighbor will end in vain
June 23, 2020
Ethiopian government officials were not overt, even reserved, in their characterization of how Egypt behaves during the negotiation over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which has been going on for years now.
That does not seem to be the case anymore. In his latest interview with Aljazeera, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew was explicit about how Egypt wanted the tripartite talk over the first phase of filling and operation of the dam.
“During tripartite Egypt brought various [new] agenda item to the negotiating table so that the talk will not be a success,” Gedu told Aljazeera Ethiopian Office head, Mohammed Taha, as reported by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Asked about what he thinks about Egypt’s attempt to establish a military base in the neighboring countries to challenge Ethiopia’s security, Gedu Andargachew said “Egypt has been making different forms of attempts. Ethiopia has strong relations with all its neighbors (Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Eritrea). I do not think that any of our neighboring countries would attack Ethiopia supporting Egypt.”
Furthermore, neighboring countries are fostering relations to deepen economic ties, and moving in the direction of regional economic integration.
A few weeks ago, there have been reports of arrangement for Egyptian military base in South Sudan but South Sudan dismissed it as a false information.
The border issue with Sudan which caused a skirmish last month was raised during the interview. Issues related to the border is an age-old problem, and the two countries are working together to resolve it durably. The relation between Ethiopia and Sudan is stronger than ever, he added.
Egypt was adamant about the tripartite talk after the Washington discussion, which Egypt hoped that Ethiopia would succumb to the US and World Bank pressure to let Egypt get away with Ethiopia’s right to use the water, failed at the end of February 2020.
Egypt left the tripartite meeting
It took hard work on the part of Sudan to bring Egypt back to the tripartite negotiating table. Not before long,Egypt dropped out of the tripartite talk after the seven-round of virtual meetings.
As it turns out, Egypt was pursuing United Nations Security Council as an avenue to pressure Ethiopia while the talk was underway. Militarism as an option to threaten Ethiopia is not left out too although the Egyptian president Abdul Fetah-Al Sisi made his statement appear equivocal by talking about commitment for a peaceful resolution regarding the differences over GERD.
Ethiopia had to send another letter to the Security Council this week clarifying its position on the filling and operation on GERD and the Nile river itself.
The letter expressed disappointment over Egypt’s behavior and the demand put forward for the council to stop Ethiopia from carrying out filing the first phase of the dam.
It also stated that the dam Ethiopia is building will not harm the lower Nile riparian countries and will not cause any peace and security issues in the region. Furthermore, the letter noted that the negotiation is on the filling and operation of the dam, not about the Nile river.
Ethiopia also rejected Egypt’s unregulated appetite to make colonial-era water allocation agreement, to which Ethiopia is not a part, as a negotiating point.
Ethiopia’s current use of the Nile water is zero percent while over 85 percent of the water of the Nile river originates from its soil. Egypt, however, does not seem to see the point that Ethiopia is determined to end the colonial water arrangement over the Nile.
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