today's Pick
Ethiopia dismisses Egypt's "psychological warfare" on dam
Publish Date: Jun 12, 2013
Ethiopia dismisses Egypt's "psychological warfare" on dam
President Mohamed Mursi, in a speech, said Egypt did not want "war" but would keep "all options open". PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
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
Disability is not inability when one is focused
“Disability is not inability but one has to look beyond to be achiever in life....
Nsenga
JACKLINE Uwera Nsenga, 36, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of her husband, Juvenal Nsenga....
Sudan lifts ban on Red Cross operations
IN a statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Khartoum had opted to lift the suspension even though discussions on the issue had not yet wrapped up...
Simba FC defender dies watching Premier League match
MUSANA was part of the Simba side that beat Entebbe 1-0 on Saturday and even trained the following morning before watching a Premier League match on Sunday evening...
Sam Kutesa
We are looking at revitalizing the UN as a whole. We are going to review its efficiency and effectiveness....
Nsenga’s widow found guilty of murder
Jackline Uwera Nsenga, 36, has been found guilty of murdering her late husband, Juvenal Nsenga....
Do you think installing CCTV cameras in public places will help in the fight against terrorism?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter