Egypt blames Ethiopia for US failure to resolve Renaissance Dam crisis

Egypt blames Ethiopia for US failure to resolve Renaissance Dam crisis
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 25 October 2020

Egypt blames Ethiopia for US failure to resolve Renaissance Dam crisis

Egypt blames Ethiopia for US failure to resolve Renaissance Dam crisis
  • The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been a source of tension between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan
  • Egypt depends on the Nile for almost all of its irrigation and drinking water and sees the dam as an existential threat

CAIRO: Egypt has blamed Ethiopia for the failure of US efforts to resolve the Renaissance Dam crisis, a day after President Donald Trump weighed in on the dispute and suggested that Egypt might “blow up” the structure.
Egypt’s minister of water resources and irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, said a pact had been reached in Washington that Addis Ababa agreed to only to reject it later. 
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to become Africa’s largest hydropower plant, has been a source of tension between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan for years. 
Egypt depends on the Nile for almost all of its irrigation and drinking water and sees the dam as an existential threat. Ethiopia, however, sees the dam as essential for its development. Egypt and Sudan fear the dam could cause water shortages, and Sudan is also concerned about the structure’s safety. 
“Every country has its priorities and pursues its interests,” Abdel-Aty said. “Sudan cares about the safety of the dam, and we are primarily interested in cooperation during periods of drought. And Ethiopia is interested in generating electricity. The goals are clear and every country has its own agenda.”
Talks between the three countries about the controversial multi-billion dollar project have made little progress in resolving outstanding issues.
The minister said Egypt was trying to reach an agreement and was open to cooperating at all levels. 
“We have a political will for cooperation and regional integration in order to achieve the prosperity of the people of the three countries. There must be cooperation that paves the way for donors and funders to link the Nile Basin countries. The political will exists at the highest level in the Egyptian state with the aim of reaching an agreement on the Renaissance Dam.”
Trump had called on Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok to reach an amicable solution, saying he had brokered an agreement to solve the issue but that Ethiopia violated it. This breach led to a cut in aid, Trump added as he warned Addis Ababa it would not receive aid unless it stuck to the agreement.
“The situation is very dangerous because Egypt will not be able to live this way, and they will end up blowing up the dam. I have said it, and I say it again, they will blow up that dam, they have to do something,” Trump remarked.
Egypt’s former irrigation minister, Muhammad Nasreddin Allam, wrote on Facebook: “Trump clarifies the Egyptian leadership’s position on the Renaissance Dam, its lack of acceptance of the Ethiopian demands and its readiness for military intervention to preserve our water security, considering that this is a green light from Trump for Egypt to strike the Renaissance Dam.”
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew summoned the US ambassador, Michael Raynor, to clarify Trump’s comments.
“It is unacceptable for a US president to incite a war between Ethiopia and Egypt,” Andargachew said. “The incitement to war between Ethiopia and Egypt does not reflect the long-term partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States. It is also unacceptable in the international law that governs relations between countries.”
Cairo and Khartoum want a legally binding agreement that guarantees adequate flows of water and a legal mechanism to resolve the dispute before the dam starts operating, but Ethiopia insists on the dam’s completion without an agreement.


France, Britain, Germany rebuke Iran over uranium metal work

France, Britain, Germany rebuke Iran over uranium metal work
Updated 26 min 26 sec ago

France, Britain, Germany rebuke Iran over uranium metal work

France, Britain, Germany rebuke Iran over uranium metal work

PARIS: European powers on Saturday warned Iran against starting work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor, saying it contravened the 2015 nuclear deal and stressing that it had no civilian use but serious military implications.
"We strongly encourage Iran to end this activity, and return to full compliance with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal) without delay, if it is serious about preserving this agreement," France, Britain and Germany said in a joint statement.