Egyptian politicians propose sabotaging Ethiopia’s new dam

June 4th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

CAIRO — Politicians meeting with Egypt’s president on Monday proposed hostile acts against Ethiopia, including backing rebels and carrying out sabotage, to stop it from building a massive dam on the Nile River upstream.

Some of the politicians appeared unaware the meeting with President Mohammed Morsi was being carried live on TV. Morsi did not directly react to the suggestions, but said in concluding remarks that Egypt respects Ethiopia and its people and will not engage in any aggressive acts against the East African nation.

Morsi called the meeting to review the impact of Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion hydroelectric dam, which would be Africa’s largest. Egypt in the past has threatened to go to war over its “historic rights” to Nile River water.

Morsi’s office later said he had directed his foreign and irrigation ministers to maintain contact with the Ethiopian government to obtain more information on the dam and its likely impact on Egypt’s share of the Nile water.

His office’s statement included an ominous-sounding note, saying: “Egypt will never surrender its right to Nile water and all options (to safeguard it) are being considered.”

Ethiopia last week started diverting the flow of the Nile to make way for its hydroelectric plant dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. On completion, it is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts, and its reservoir is scheduled to start filling next year.

An independent panel of experts has concluded that the dam will not significantly affect downstream Sudan and Egypt, which are highly dependent on the water of the world’s longest river, said an Ethiopian official, who spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the topic.

But in Cairo on Monday, Younis Makhyoun, leader of an ultraconservative Islamist party, said Egypt should back rebels in Ethiopia or, as a last resort, destroy the dam. He said Egypt made a “strategic error” when it did not object to the dam’s construction.

Makhyoun said Ethiopia is “fragile” because of rebel movements inside the country. “We can communicate with them and use them as a bargaining chip against the Ethiopian government,” he said.

“If all this fails, then there is no choice left for Egypt but to play the final card, which is using the intelligence service to destroy the dam,” said Makhyoun, whose Nour party won about 25 per cent of parliament’s seats in elections in late 2011 and early 2012.

Another politician, liberal Ayman Nour, proposed spreading rumours about Egypt obtaining refuelling aircraft to create the impression that it plans an airstrike to destroy the dam.

“This could yield results on the diplomatic track,” Nour said.

Abu al-Ila Madi, leader of the pro-Morsi Islamist Wasat party, suggested that a rumour that Egypt planned to destroy the dam could scare the Ethiopians into co-operating with Egypt on the project.

Magdy Hussein, another Islamist politician, warned that talk of military action against Ethiopia is “very dangerous” and will only turn Ethiopians into enemies. He suggested soft diplomacy in dealing with the crisis, including organizing a film festival in Ethiopia and dispatching researchers and translation missions.

Ethiopia’s decision to construct the dam challenges a colonial-era agreement that had given Egypt and Sudan rights to the Nile water, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic metres and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic metres of 84 billion cubic metres, with 10 billion lost to evaporation.

That agreement, first signed in 1929, took no account of the eight other nations along the 6,700-kilometre river and its basin, which have been agitating for a decade for a more equitable accord.

Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu has said Egypt should not worry about a diminished water share.

“We don’t have any irrigation projects around the dam. The dam is solely intended for electricity production … So there should not be any concerns about a diminished water flow,” Alemayehu said on Saturday.

Eighty-five per cent of Nile waters originate in Ethiopia, yet the nation utilizes very little of them, and the country has become synonymous with famine.

  1. Dawi
    | #1

    ElBaradei calls on Morsy to apologize to Ethiopia

    “Mohamed ElBaradei, National Salvation Front Coordinator, called on President Mohamed Morsy to apologise to Ethiopia and Sudan for “the irresponsible utterances” made during the national dialogue session held on Monday to discuss the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis.”

  2. mossad
    | #2

    Egypt has for centuries been working hard to dismantle Ethiopia by supporting any ethnic liberation front that picks up arms. Tigre p liberation front and shabia , olf , onlf were the main recepients of egypt aid for 40 years or so. They have always been anti-Ethiopia. they will never be Ethiopia’s friend whatever form of government is in power in Ethiopia. They just want the Nile to flow to their desert scortched land UNINTERRUPTED.

  3. Sam
    | #3

    An Ethiopian official has said “an independent panel of experts has concluded that the dam will not significantly affect the downstream [to] Sudan and Egypt.” How do Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia define “significantly” will be based on their national interest. It is unwise to assume the three countries would agree with what the Independent panel conclusion had been. That some Egyptian politicians proposal to make friends with Ethiopian rebel movements to sabotage the dam is unwise and counter productive. First, the rebel movement inside Ethiopia is insignificant. Second, any movement that cooperates with Egypt in sabotaging the dam hoping to gain politcal power , I say, is a movement led by dense individuals. No matter how Ethiopians see the EPDRF government, they will not welcome to power any movement which sale its soul just to be in power. What Younis Makhyoun, leader of an ultraconservative Islamic party, has said will be the “pragmatic” means Egypt might choose to embrace to derail the dam completion. He said ” Egypt as a last resort destroy the dam.” At this stage of the construction what will Egypt do is anybody’s guess. As an Ethiopian, I have a very conflicted ideas about the dam. I sincerly believe Ethiopia has the right to build the dam without affecting the flow to Sudan and Egypt. At the same time, I “panic” at the thought of Egypt sabotaging the construction of the dam. For an interview given to Times or Newsweek, I am not sure which one, Sadat, the former Egyptian president has said, more than thirty years ago, if Ethiopia will affect the flow of water from Nile there wuill be an outright war between the two countries. In today’s world an “outright war” will be condemened from every corner of the globe. Egyptian politicians know that. They might not care though of condemnation for having done sabotage. The real question is does the EPDRF government did not think through rationally before having the concept of building the dam? I do not know. When asked about Egypt resorting to war to stop the building of the dam, the late prime minster, said no country who crossed an Ethiopian border to conduct war never left with enough people to tell the story of the war. That is a good a statment to arouse nationalistic feeling among Ethiopians. How true that statment is, I believe, however, still be debatable. But the more important question is is it the right time to rely on propaganda to quell the possibilty of war? As I said, I am very conflicted on this issue. I think my feedback might reveal that anyway, and I do not have to repeat it again and again.

  4. መሻል
    | #4

    የማይታወቅ ነገር አልተናገሩም። ብስትኅትም ቢሆን እንቋን በይፋ ወጣ:: እኛም አልፎ አልፎ የውስጥ ችግሮቻችንን ‘በትራንስፓሬንት’ መልኩ በይፋ ብንነጋገር ይበጀን ነበር።

    ዋናው የአባይ ችግር ምንጭ ከድሮም ኢትዮጵያ ናት። የረጅም አመት የፖሊቲካ ድክመትዋ ነው የግጵጽ መንግስትን ፈተና የሆነበት። የ ኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ተንካራ ቢሆን የግጵጽ መንግስት ትኩረት ኢትዮጵያን ማከፋፈል ላይ ከሚሆን በአባይ ላይ ያላቸውን ምርኩዝናን (dependence) መቀነስ ላይ ይሆን ነበር። ይህ ለሁለቱም አገር ይበጅ ነበር።

    ኢትዮጵያ የምትጠነክረው ፍትህ ነጻነትና ዴሞክራሲ ሲኖራት ነው። አሁንም እንደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ዋና ትግላችን ይህ መሆን አለበት።

  5. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #5

    I watched the meeting on Youtube. Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!! I am still laughing!!! Folks!!!! Ethiopia is so advanced in civil engineering technology that it is going to build a subterranean pipe line that starts at the dam site and goes many miles under the entire half of the country and right under the desk of Isaias Afeworki then beneath the Red Sea and finally it somehow will pop out right at the city center of Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem and at every Israeli settlements. Peew!!!! This was just disclosed to us all by the most educated and most sacred scholar of Al-Azhar University. This kind of absurdity is not only confined to the so-called political leaders in Egypt. You will find it in almost every country in the Arab League. One of them even called the ‘Indomitable’ folks in Minnesota a ‘thing’. ONLF(If they have any breath left in them) are also a ‘thing’ to these Egyptian ‘prophets’. And as always they blame the Good Ole USA(Amreekaa and Isreal(Ezreel). To be honest with you, if Mosri finally succumbs to these illiterate bunch of door knobs, you can kiss and say good bye to every aspect of freedom the average Egyptian achieved with so much sacrifice during the Arab Spring. In the meanwhile, I am so saddened by the fact that these numb heads just gave a huge survival jackpot to these Woyane goons we have back home

  6. aha!
    | #6

    I base my narratives about GDP (Grand Dam Project), being solely conceived for its electric generation, but not for irrigation on Ato Alemayehu Teggn’s Statement as regards to no threat of reduced water to Egypt. Does the industrial and domestic use of electricity in Ethiopia justify that statement, let alone the cost for transmission grid to the center and away from the center, when irrigation is not part of the package to alleviate food production shortfall through irrigation? Does it satisfy the Ethiopian bond holders from their meager income for the project that IMF did not want to fund, and lacks fund to complete the project and even if at all completed it takes seven years for the Dam to fill without letting any drop of water to Egypt or else takes 20 years to fill the dam according to one of expert in the field interviewed on EAST to say the least about the dam being partially filled by sediments from the water catchment basins in the central and Northern highlands in those years? Is the feasibility study for infrastructure is based on exporting electricity to the neighboring counties or countering shortage of production through irrigated farms and supplying electricity for domestic uses? If the latter is the goal why not go for the 20 or more tributaries that have studied as being feasible for irrigation and hydro electric power generation according to ato Fekade Shewakenna, while simultaneously revitalizing all the highlands of the water catchment basins to increase their ability to retain water, conserve the soil from run offs, increase production as well as avoid floods in the lowlands.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    ማሰብ ያማይችሉ ስለሆኑ ኢጅብቶች ምንም ማለት አይቻልም…. እና እንኑር እናንተ ጭለማውስጥ ኑሩ ነው የነሱ ሃሳብ…. ማንም ሰው በጁ ያለውን ነገር እንደፈለገ ማድረግ መብት አለው… ኢትዮጵያም ውሀውን እንደፈለጋት ማድረግ ትችላለች እንዲሁም ኢጅብት አገሩዋ ላይ የሚገባውን የአባይን ውሃ እንደፈለጋት ማድረግ ትችላለች

  8. tariko
    | #8

    the reality on the ground is diffrent what is on the nets. nile originate in our region and this is nothing to do with tigrai mafia. history repeat it self. this is our time my hero wakeup and defeat the mafia who teroried our country. we know they want to divert the buplic attention.

  9. Aba Biya
    | #9

    The problem about the Nile question is that Ethiopia is without a legitimate government and strong leader. Egypt has nothing to to do with Blue Nie. Blue Nile is not international water. It belongs to Ethiopia.

    Ethiopians shoul tell the Arabs go to hell.
    Ethiopia never demands from the arabs to share their oil with Ethiopia.

  10. aha!
    | #10

    The current regime of TPLF/eprdf regime of ex-liberation fronts, with the mantra of oppression of nations and nationalities from the previous regimes of colonial power of Ethiopia and yet settled to govern Ethiopia under the newly crafted constitution with ethnic federalism/ “ethnic homelands-killil”, secessionism and totaliarinism built into it, has managed to divert the struggle by those with national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where the last item has to do with individual freedom, liberty and equality to super cede ethnic and secessionist rights Grand Dam Project, which followed by sabotaging the dam through a proxy war and/or direct attack, when the silent majority of Ethiopians are fighting for political and economic freedom.

    With that as a pretext, Ethiopia has yet to form a democratic government and democratic parties with national agenda, where the meaning of democracy directly translates into a rule by the people and for the people, for the people and of the people with a non-violent uprising for freedom, liberty and equality of the individual from the current set up of the constitution and TPLF/eprdf regime, unifying the silent majority of Ethiopians under the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

    With that I concur with Meshal’s last Statement in his # 4 remarks. While the GDP is under negotiations, the TPLF/eprdf regime need divert its attention to priorities and alternatives I stated above with funds that may be available from IMF.

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