Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Egypt 'Shocked' over Ethiopia’s Readiness for War over Dam, Agrees to US Meeting

Egypt 'Shocked' over Ethiopia’s Readiness for War over Dam, Agrees to US Meeting

Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 07:00
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019. (Reuters)

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has expressed great concern over the remarks made by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed regarding his country’s readiness to use force in order to resolve disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The premier warned that his country could ready millions of people in case a war broke out over the dam.

“[The] reaction leaves Egypt perplexed as it is inappropriate to bring up a rhetoric that includes military options … Ahmed’s alleged remarks clearly violate the principals and the very spirit of the African Union, especially since Egypt’s approach of the issue has always been only based on negotiation in accordance with the international law,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry statement said.

The statement expressed Egypt’s state of shock at the remarks as they were told only a few days after the PM’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The news was celebrated by everyone and is considered as an incentive for Ethiopia to show more political flexibility and good intentions to reach an obligatory legal agreement that values the interests of concerned countries, it added.

According to the release, Egypt has accepted an invitation from the US to hold a trilateral meeting in Washington on the GERD issue and has expressed "great shock and deep concern" over Ahmed’s remarks.

“Egypt has received an invitation from the US, as it is keen to break the deadlock engulfing GERD talks, to hold a tripartite meeting in Washington that includes the ministers of foreign affairs in the three countries. Egypt immediately accepted the invitation in accordance with its constant policy to activate GERD’s Declaration of Principles signed in 2015 and its confidence in America’s good intentions,” the statement said.

Ethiopia has been constructing the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile since 2011. It is expected to become fully operational by 2022. Cairo fears that the project may affect Egypt's share of water and seriously damage the national economy and agriculture.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is expected to meet Ahmed during a Russia-Africa summit this week. Egypt has suggested bringing in an outside party, possibly the World Bank or the United States, to mediate the dispute.

Ethiopia has previously rejected bringing in a mediator.

Editor Picks