Khartoum/Cairo: – Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi issued a stern warning that Ethiopia is trying to gain control over the Blue Nile river without considering the interests of Sudan and Egypt. We will not tolerate this policy of imposing such unilateral decisions on other countries.’ The Egyptian military officials also had visited Sudan before President Al-Sisi’s visit and signed a military cooperation agreement with Sudan. The warning issued by Al-Sisi and the agreement signed before that indicate that a conflict can be sparked in this region over the Nile River.
On Saturday, Egypt President Al-Sisi visited Sudan. At this time, he met Al Burhan, the Chief of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, in capital Khartoum. The Egyptian President issued this decisive warning to Ethiopia in the statement released after this meeting. At the time, Al-Sisi said that Egypt and Sudan are united on this issue and have adopted a resolute stand to negotiate for a concrete solution. Moreover, he also clarified that Egypt was with Sudan, also in the border dispute with Ethiopia.
Sudan and Ethiopia share a 1,600 kilometres long border and certain parts of the border are ill-defined. Al-Fashqa province in Sudan shares 600 kilometres of its border with Ethiopia, which has been a perpetual point of dispute. Although Al-Fashqa has traditionally been a Sudanese province, Ethiopian governments have given the Ethiopian people the freedom to intrude into the region. The Ethiopian military had even sent their units to the Al-Fashqa province in Sudan. There is a consistent conflict between the two countries over this issue and Sudan has warned that there will be no retreat.
The Nile River issue is on the anvil since the end of last year. Ethiopia decided to build a dam on the Nile River in 2011. The dam is known as the ‘The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ entails an investment of $4.6 billion and nearly 70% of the work on the dam is completed. Sudan and Egypt claim that if this Ethiopian dam becomes fully operational, both countries will be severely hit. These countries have demanded a written assurance from Ethiopia that water flow in the river will be maintained. But even after prolonged negotiations for nearly a decade, Ethiopia has not expressed willingness to provide the assurance. This has made Egypt and Sudan more aggressive. The Egyptian President’s visit to Sudan also seems to be a part of the same aggressive stand.