Ethiopia dismisses Egyptian threats as mere posturing
: Apr 10, 2011
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The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) downplayed the Egyptian government statement of instructing its military to prepare for any eventuality regarding a crucial water dispute with Ethiopia as being a psychological threat no different than what they used to be before.
According to Egyptian security sources speaking to WorldNet Daily (WND), a US-based news outlet, the Egyptian army has been instructed to “prepare for any eventuality” after the recent move by Ethiopia to commence the construction of a dam on the Blue Nile.
“It’s a psychological threat persisting from the early time of Egypt's former President Anwar Sadat,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Dina Mufti told The Reporter.
The Egyptian government has started threatening Ethiopia by the pre-existing treaty which was endorsed in 1929 between Great Britain, a colonial power of the time, and Egypt, allowing the latter to acquire the lion’s share of the Nile waters, Dina added.
This came after an Egyptian mission comprising 35 key figures arrived in Uganda to consult with President Yoweri Museveni and other officials on the issue of the Nile. The mission that arrived in Entebbe last Monday includes al-Sayyed al-Badawi, President of the Wafd Party, and other individuals that are hopefuls for the next Egyptian presidency, such as Hamdeen Sabbahi, Ayman Nour and Hesham el-Bastawisi.
Former Minister of Irrigation Mahmoud Abu Zeid, Ahmed al-Leithi, former minister of agriculture, Osama al-Ghazali Harb, president of the Democratic Front Party and several youths from the 25 January revolution also traveled to Entebbe for the talks.
Mostafa al-Gendi, assistant to the Wafd Party president and general coordinator for the visit, said the delegation aims to present the Egyptian people's view on distribution of Nile water. “We will ask the Ugandan president to intervene in favor of Egypt regarding Nile water distribution,” he said.
The delegation is expected to call for the preservation of Egypt's historical water rights and a fresh start to the relationship between the two countries following Egypt's revolution, according to al-Gendi.
“After the announcement of the building of the Millennium Dam, Egypt has been engaged in trying to create pressure on Ethiopia from various corners of the globe,” Dina Mufti, told The Reporter. He said that Egyptian officials aim at making the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) void. “But they won’t make much difference,” he added.
Similar visits by the Egyptian mission are expected to other Nile Basin countries.
Six African countries have signed a petition, the Entebbe Agreement, calling for all Nile Basin countries to modify the old pact and to re-allocate the shares of water from the Nile River.
Ethiopia is planning to construct a 5 billion dollar dam, called the Great Millennium Dam, along the Nile River about 40 km from the Sudanese border. The dam will section off a larger portion of the Nile in what is expected to be a 63 billion cubic meter reservoir, twice the volume of water in Lake Tana, the largest water body in Ethiopia.
By Merga Yonas and Zekarias Sintayehu