Egypt-Ethiopia clash over Nile Dam

Cairo: – A strong reaction has been received from Egypt over Ethiopia’s statements regarding the Dam to be built on the Nile river. The Egyptian foreign ministry summoned the Ethiopian Ambassador and demanded a complete explanation in the matter. A few days ago, Ethiopia accused that Egypt has instigated the Sudan-Ethiopia conflict. Moreover, the statements regarding the Dam on the Nile river that followed this accusation, indicate further festering of the tension in the region.   

egypt-ethiopiaIn 2011, Ethiopia decided to build a dam on the Nile river. Egypt and Sudan raised strong objections to the construction of this Dam. However, Ethiopia dismissed them and started constructing it. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be built at the cost of $4.6 billion. Besides, it is believed that 70% of the construction work is complete. The Dam’s catchment area is mind-boggling 1,874 kilometres. Also, there will be a water storage capacity of 74 billion cubic metres. A hydroelectric project also is being built on the Dam, which will generate a whopping 6,000 megawatts of electricity.   

Egypt and Sudan claim that on completion of the Dam and after it becomes fully operational, both these countries will suffer severely. 90% of Egyptian farming is dependent on water from the Nile river and the Ethiopian Dam will pose a threat to one-third of the farming. In Sudan, along with the threat to farming, there could even be a shortage of drinking water. Therefore, both these countries have bitterly opposed this Dam over the last few years. They have demanded a written agreement from Ethiopia, guaranteeing that water flow in the river will not be affected.   

Ethiopia has not expressed willingness to give a written assurance in this regard, despite various rounds of talks over the last decade. Therefore, Egypt and Sudan have become more aggressive. A reaction has been received from the Ethiopian foreign department, on the stand taken by Egypt and Sudan. Dina Mufti, the Ethiopian foreign department spokesman, accused that both- Egypt and Sudan know that there is no threat to them because of the Ethiopian Dam. But they are using this issue to divert the attention from the problems in their countries. There are many serious issues in front of the governments in Egypt and Sudan, which could explode any time. Especially the situation in Egypt can fester at any time on many issues. Therefore, the issue of the Dam is being used to distract the population.’  

Egypt expressed intense displeasure over the statements made by Mufti. The Egyptian foreign ministry retorted that these statements are an attack on Egypt and the Ethiopian regime is making these statements to cover up their failures. Egypt has clearly indicated that it has taken a serious cognisance of the statements, by following this up with a summons to the Ethiopian.   

Ambassador. All the talks regarding the Dam, between the three countries, have failed. Simultaneously, the Ethiopian government is in trouble over the Tigre province’s action; it is facing a lot of criticism internationally.   

Taking this into account, Egypt has started exerting pressure on Ethiopia. It has been observed over the last few months that Egypt is taking the initiative to strengthen the diplomatic and military ties with Sudan, for this purpose. Against all this background, analysts claim that the Ethiopian dam issue could trigger one more conflict in the African continent.   

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