Ethiopia has stepped up army deployment near the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), setting off the alarm on tensions rising between the African state on the one hand and Egypt and Sudan on the other.
For its part, Cairo voiced deep rejection of any unilateral action undertaken by Addis Ababa before the signing of a comprehensive agreement on filling and operating the GERD.
In grave disregard of the need for a tripartite deal with Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia insists on filling the dam over the upcoming wet season, which will occur over the next few weeks.
This has spurred substantial anxiety within the other two North African states over securing their share from Nile waters. Both Sudan and Egypt are arguing that Ethiopia is arbitrarily choosing to foil decade-old negotiations.
“Ethiopian Air Force reinforcements around the Renaissance Dam are stronger than ever,” said Ethiopian Air Force (EAF) Commander Yilma Merdasa, according to a press release posted by the state-run news agency on Facebook.
“The Air Force is closely guarding the Renaissance Dam and pledges to protect it from any aggression,” Merdasa asserted at an EAF award ceremony that saw a number of badges and military ranks accorded to members of the force.
“Any attempts to destabilize the country and spread chaos internally and externally will not succeed,” he confirmed, pointing out that the army protects national sovereignty and looks forward to fully serving the country by defending the GERD against any aggression.
Also, Merdasa revealed that the EAF possesses a sophisticated and striking power in surveying activities conducted in the airspace above the GERD.
“No aircraft without a permit is allowed to approach this area,” he confirmed.
So far, negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have failed to reach a consensus over the dam.
Egypt has not officially announced its intention to launch a military strike on the GERD, but a war of words was unleashed between the three countries. On social media, many Egyptians are calling for a military intervention to dissuade Ethiopia from its plan.