Renaissance Dam: Ethiopia summons United States ambassador over Trump's 'incitement of war'

25 Octobre, 2020, 02:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Ethiopia PM

Ethiopia on Saturday summoned the United States ambassador over what it called an "incitement of war" between Ethiopia and Egypt from President Donald Trump over their dispute about the filling and operation of a massive hydropower dam.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew summoned US Ambassador Michael Raynor for clarification on Saturday, a day after Trump spoke in the Oval Office about Ethiopia's $4.6 billion hydroelectric dam project. "The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States, nor is acceptable in worldwide law governing interstate relations", Andargachew said on Saturday.

Washington's attempt to broker a deal to resolve the dam issue ended in failure earlier this year after Ethiopia accused the Trump administration of favouring Egypt.

Current Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office also issued a statement Saturday criticizing the nature of the comments, though it did not directly name the US president, the AP reported.

Ethiopia was responding to comments about the dam, known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, made by Trump on Friday during a ceremony marking a breakthrough normalisation deal between Israel and Sudan.

"They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement", Trump said on Friday.

This satellite image shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

"It's a very risky situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office with leaders of Sudan and Israel on speakerphone.

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He warned: "They [Egypt] will end up blowing up the dam".

Ethiopia says the colossal dam project could help it become a major power exporter and develop its economy. "And they have to do something", Trump said. Downstream Sudan is a party to the talks with Ethiopia and Egypt over the disputed dam.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not specifically reference Trump in a statement released by his office on Saturday, but said "occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound". "These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of worldwide law".

The speed with which Ethiopia fills up the dam will govern how severely Egypt is affected - the slower the better as far as Cairo is concerned. Egypt depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and population of 100 million with fresh water while Sudan contends with frequent droughts.

He noted to suspending the USA aid to Ethiopia over the GERD, saying "we stopped paying lot of aide to them, and they will not see that money again until they adhere to the agreement".

Abiy's office has said there has been significant progress made in resolving the dispute since the African Union took over negotiations, the most recent round of which broke down in August.

"Ethiopia will not cave-in to aggressions of any kind", the statement added.

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