Egypt president seeking compromise, not war over Ethiopia dam

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Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has reiterated his stance on seeking a resolution to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute through negotiations, once again distancing from calls for military intervention.

Last week, Ethiopia Prime Minister celebrated the early filling of the huge dam, which sits on the Blue River Nile, as a “historic moment” while insisting “we conducted the filling of this dam without causing harm to anyone”. However, this is a sentiment Egpyt disagrees with – a country that relies almost entirely on the River Nile for its water supply.

Calls for war over dam filling

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been a point of tension between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan for almost a decade and a resolution appears to be no closer in 2020. The River Nile runs through 11 African nations before reaching the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Egypt. Sudan is the only country standing between Ethiopia and Egypt along the Nile stretch and the country also partially relies on the river for its own water supply.

Ethiopia’s dam project poses a particular risk to Egypt, which has relied on the Nile as its primary life source throughout history. The country is already severely water-poor and any reduction in water flow would have devastating consequences for the country. The Nile is Egypt’s primary source of water for both drinking and agriculture but the country is already dealing with shortages on both counts.

The filling of Ethiopia’s Renaissance dam prior to any deal being agreed between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan has prompted calls for military intervention from some in Egypt.

However, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has distanced himself from calls, insisting there’s no need for threats and proposing negotiation as the path forward for all parties.

“There is no need for threats, among Egyptian public opinion, of military action. We are negotiating so we can all benefit, and so that no harm is done to us,” he said in a statement at the inauguration of a new economic project on Wednesday.

Featured image: Kremlin.ru

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.