today's Pick
Ethiopia dismisses Egypt's "psychological warfare" on damPublish Date: Jun 12, 2013
Ethiopia dismisses Egypt's "psychological warfare" on dam
  • mail
  • img
President Mohamed Mursi, in a speech, said Egypt did not want "war" but would keep "all options open". PHOTO/AFP
newvision

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia dismissed Egyptian talk of military action against a giant dam it is building on the Nile as "psychological warfare", and said it would defend itself and carry on with the work regardless.

Bellicose rhetoric between two of Africa's most populous and fastest-growing nations has raised fears of conflict over water, though both sides are also pursuing diplomatic compromise over what would be the biggest hydro electric plant on the continent.

Responding to a speech on Monday by President Mohamed Mursi, in which he said Egypt did not want "war" but would keep "all options open" to avoid losing any water, Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "This sort of bragging won't divert our attention."

The spokesman, Dina Mufti, added: "Ethiopia is not intimidated by Egypt's psychological warfare and won't halt the dam's construction, even for seconds."

Egypt's previous military rulers had contingency plans to attack Ethiopian dams that might disrupt the flow of the Nile.

Some politicians were caught on camera last week talking of air strikes or backing Ethiopian rebels after the start of major new work on the project took Cairo by surprise late last month.

Asked if Addis Ababa was looking at measures to defend the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, Dina said: "No country operates without precautions, let alone Ethiopia, which has a track record of defending its independence from all forces of evil."

Mainly Christian Ethiopia and Muslim Arab Egypt share a long history of suspicion and friction, including over the Nile.

Egypt's foreign minister, who has said he will give up "not a single drop of water", is to visit Addis Ababa. Mursi hoped for a political solution with Ethiopia, a "friendly state", whose demands for economic development he said he understood.

Impact

One bone of contention is a technical analysis of the impact of the $4.7-billion dam being built by an Italian firm on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan, which supports the plan.

Ethiopia says a joint report, still kept under wraps by both governments, supports its assurances it will do "no appreciable harm" to Sudan and Egypt downstream. It has no plan to use water for irrigation and says that once the reservoir is filled, all the river's water will be free to flow through its turbines.

Mursi, however, said Egypt had carried out studies that showed "negative consequences". Less water would flow while the reservoir is filling. Once full, more water may evaporate.

Egypt, whose 84 million people use almost all of the Nile's supply that reaches them to meet their needs, cites colonial-era treaties guaranteeing it the lion's share of the water. Ethiopia and other upstream neighbours say those claims are outdated.

"Ethiopia cannot remain poor," Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said in a statement. "It must utilise its resources to lift its people out of poverty."

Despite its lack of means, Ethiopia insists it can fund the project itself without help from international lenders wary of the diplomatic dispute. It has been aided by a $1-billion loan from China to build power transmission lines.

It says the project, on which work to divert the river temporarily began in May, is 21 percent complete. With a target generating capacity of 6,000 megawatts, it is part of a plan to make Ethiopia the biggest electricity exporter in Africa.

Reuters

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
IGP: PM was misled on police arrests
It is not true that the country is unstable, on the contrary it is more stable now than before. When I was appointed Inspector General of Police, the situation in the country was more tense....
Senior finance ministry official found dead in city hotel
A senior official in the finance ministry was found dead in a hotel in a Kampala city suburb on Monday, a day after he reportedly checked in....
Men also develop breast cancer
WHILE rare, breast cancer does occur in men and is often diagnosed at a later age and stage than in women, experts say...
Lwakataka moved to Masaka Prison amid security fears
PRISON authorities at Kalisizo Government Prison have relocated rally ace Ponsiano Lwakataka to Masaka Central Prison for safety reasons...
Lugbara now want a king
FOUND in West Nile and parts of eastern DR Congo, the Lugbara never had a monarchy. As an egalitarian society, their traditional and cultural organisations never surpassed the clan level...
State House not facilitating youth meet at Namboole
State House has clarified that it is not facilitating any youth seminar at Namboole....
Should private schools and institutions be given tax exemption?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter