Ethiopia’s Nile Dam: Prime Minister condemns “assaults” after Trump’s comment

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image copyrightReuters

legendThe dam will be Africa’s largest hydropower project

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The Ethiopian prime minister said his country “would not give in to attacks of any kind” after President Donald Trump suggested Egypt could destroy a controversial Nile dam.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is at the center of a long-standing conflict involving Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.
Mr Trump said Egypt could not live with the dam and could “blow up” the construction.
Ethiopia considers the United States to be on Egypt’s side in the dispute.
The United States announced in September that it would cut some aid to Ethiopia after it began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

Why is the dam disputed?

Egypt relies most of its water needs on the Nile and fears that supplies will be cut and its economy compromised as Ethiopia takes control of the flow of Africa’s longest river.
When completed, the $ 4 billion (£ 3 billion) structure on the Blue Nile in western Ethiopia will be Africa’s largest hydropower project.
The speed at which Ethiopia fills the dam will determine the severity of Egypt’s effects – the slower the better when it comes to Cairo. This process is expected to take several years.

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Sudan, further upstream than Egypt, is also concerned about water shortages.

Ethiopia, which announced the start of construction in 2011, says it needs the dam for its economic development.
The negotiations between the three countries were chaired by the United States, but are now overseen by the African Union.

What did the Ethiopian Prime Minister say?

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not respond directly to Mr. Trump’s remarks, but there appears to be little doubt as to what prompted his robust comments.
The Ethiopians would finish the roadblock, he vowed.
“Ethiopia will not give in to any aggression of any kind,” he said. “The Ethiopians never knelt down to obey their enemies, but to respect their friends. We will not do it today and in the future. ”
Threats of any kind on the issue were “ill-advised, unproductive and manifest violations of international law”.
image copyrightReuters
legendSudan is also worried – Blue and White Niles meet in Khartoum

Why did Trump get involved?

The president was on the phone with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of reporters at the White House on Friday.
The occasion was the decision of Israel and Sudan to agree on diplomatic relations in a move choreographed by the United States.
The subject of the dam was brought up and Mr. Trump and Mr. Hamdok expressed hope for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.
But Mr Trump also said that “it is a very dangerous situation because Egypt will not be able to live this way”.
He continued, “And I said it and I’m saying it loud and clear – they’re going to blow up this dam. And they have to do something. ”

What is the state of the negotiations?

Mr. Abiy maintains that negotiations have progressed further since the African Union began mediation.
But there are fears that Ethiopia’s decision to start filling the reservoir may overshadow hopes of resolving key areas, such as what happens during a drought and how to resolve future conflicts.

Ethiopia Dam Map

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