Ethiopia's comment on dam blast angers Ethiopia

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Ethiopia's comment on dam blast angers Ethiopia

 

Ethiopia's prime minister said his country "would not give in to attacks of any kind" after President Donald Trump suggested Egypt could destroy a controversial Nile dam.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is at the center of a long-standing conflict involving Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

Mr. Trump has declared that Egypt could not live with the dam and could "blow up" the construction.

Ethiopia views the United States as being on Egypt's side in the dispute.

The United States announced in September that it would cut some aid to Ethiopia after it began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

The Ethiopian foreign minister summoned the US ambassador on Saturday to clarify President Trump's comments.

Why is the dam disputed?

Egypt relies for most of its water needs on the Nile and fears that supplies will be cut and its economy compromised as Ethiopia takes control of the flow of the longest river from Africa.

When completed, the $ 4 billion (£ 3 billion) structure on the Blue Nile in western Ethiopia will be Africa's largest hydropower project.

How quickly Ethiopia fills the dam will determine the severity of the effects on Egypt - the slower the better when it comes to Cairo. This process is expected to take several years.

 

Sudan, further upstream than Egypt, is also concerned about water shortages.

Ethiopia, which announced the start of construction in 2011, says it needs the dam for its economic development.

The negotiations between the three countries were chaired by the United States, but are now overseen by the African Union.

What did the Ethiopian Prime Minister say?

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not respond directly to Mr. Trump's remarks, but there appears to be little doubt as to what prompted his robust comments.

The Ethiopians would finish the roadblock, he vowed.

“Ethiopia will not yield to any aggression of any kind,” he said in a statement. “The Ethiopians did not never knelt down to obey their enemies, but to respect their friends. We will not do it today and in the future. "

Threats of any kind on the issue were "ill-advised, unproductive and manifest violations of international law".

In a separate statement, the Foreign Office said: “The incitement to war between Ethiopia and Egypt by a sitting US president does not reflect the long-standing partnership and strategic alliance between the 'Ethiopia and the United States, nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations. "

The Blue Nile and the White Nile converge in KhartoumCOPYRIGHT OF IMAGEREUTERS
legendSudan is also worried - Blue and White Niles meet in Khartoum

Why did Trump get involved?

The president was on the phone with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of reporters at the White House on Friday.

The occasion was the decision of Israel and Sudan to agree on diplomatic relations in a move choreographed by the United States.

The topic of the dam was brought up and Mr. Trump and Mr. Hamdok expressed hope for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

But Mr Trump also said that "it is a very dangerous situation because Egypt will not be able to live this way".

He continued, “And I said it and I'm saying it loud and clear - they're going to blow up this dam. And they have to do something. "

President Trump on the phone with Israeli and Sudanese leaders, October 23, 2020COPYRIGHT OF IMAGEREUTERS
legendThe roadblock was launched during a phone call with the Sudanese prime minister

What is the state of negotiations?

Mr. Abiy maintains that negotiations have progressed further since the African Union began mediation.

But we fear that the decision from Ethiopia to start filling the reservoir overshadows hopes of resolving key areas, such as what happens during a drought and how to resolve future conflicts.

Ethiopia Dam Map
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This article appeared first on: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54674313
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