Ethiopia warns Egypt to back off talks of war over the River Nile

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Egypt could not win a war with Ethiopia and was also aiding rebel groups in an attempt to destabilise the Horn of Africa nation, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in an interview.

Egypt, Ethiopia and seven other countries through which the river passes have been locked in more than a decade of contentious talks driven by anger over the perceived injustice of a previous Nile water treaty signed in 1929.

Under the original pact Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic metres a year, the lion’s share of the Nile’s total flow of around 84 billion cubic metres, despite the fact some 85 percent of the water originates in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya signed a new deal to share the waters in May, provoking Egypt to call it a “national security” issue.

Meles said he was not happy with the rhetoric coming from the Egyptians but dismissed the claims of some analysts that war could eventually erupt.

“I am not worried that the Egyptians will suddenly invade Ethiopia,” Meles told Reuters in an interview. “Nobody who has tried that has lived to tell the story. I don’t think the Egyptians will be any different and I think they know that.”

The five signatories of the new deal have given the other Nile Basin countries one year to join the pact before putting it into action. Sudan has backed Egypt while Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi have so far refused to sign.

“The Egyptians have yet to make up their minds as to whether they want to live in the 21st or the 19th century,” Meles told Reuters in an interview, referring to the fact the original treaty was negotiated by colonial administrators.

“So the process appears to be stuck.”

Stretching more than 6,600 km (4,100 miles) from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean, the Nile is a vital water and energy source for the nine countries through which it flows.

Egypt, almost totally dependent on the Nile and threatened by climate change, is closely watching hydroelectric dam construction in the upstream countries.

Ethiopia has built five huge dams over the last decade and has begun construction on a new $1.4 billion hydropower facility — the biggest in Africa.

Meles accused Egypt of trying to destabilise his country by supporting several small rebel groups but said it was a tactic that would no longer work.

“If we address the issues around which the rebel groups are mobilised then we can neutralise them and therefore make it impossible for the Egyptians to fish in troubled waters because there won’t be any,” he said.

“Hopefully that should convince the Egyptians that, as direct conflict will not work, and as the indirect approach is not as effective as it used to be, the only sane option will be civil dialogue.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in July called for a scheduled November meeting of the nine countries to be attended by heads of state. Meles said that would not happen now.

The last meeting of all sides ended in stalemate and angry exchanges between water ministers at a news conference in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“Ask the Egyptians to leave their culture and go and live in the desert because you need to take this water and to add it to other countries? No,” Egyptian Water Minister Mohamed Nasreddin Allam told Reuters at that meeting.

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5 thoughts on “Ethiopia warns Egypt to back off talks of war over the River Nile”

  1. When the invaders/colonialists “left Africa” the contradictions and tensions of their rapacious deeds remained:

    a) meaningless borders/divisions between Afrikans

    b) A new ruling class steeped in their ideologies and languages; capitalism/communism/english/french etc

    c) christians vs muslims vs Traditional Afrikan spirutuality (dubbed “animist or pagan/primitive” by these depraved “pious” hypocrites”

    The arab muslim governments of egypt & sudan need to face reality quickly.

    Are they going to bomb the whole of Black Afrika because their white man colonial left them with this silly indefensible treaty?

    They need to understand MAAT: Truth, Justice Righteousness and apply proper measurements & balance in the use of HAPI/Nile for Africa.

    Now is the time to see if the current egyptian rulers & majorities can measure up to the BLACK Afrikan Pyramid buiders of CLASSIC TIMES.

    We hope sanity prevails. The alternative will have no winners. WATER IS LIFE

  2. eygptian shoud give up thier old thinking and shoud start to beleive in line with contemporary world they have to beleive ethiopia is getting stronger and stronger from time to time and they also should learn from history that ethiopian never defeated by any body the land of christians

  3. Beke you are joking egypt can destroy ethiopia in few minutes we will fuck you if it requires ,believe me we won’t have any mercy with you it’s water

  4. Abdirahman, have you cowardic Egyptians ever win in any war. Kikikikiki, don’t forget that we Ethiopians fucked you twice. In fact, you have been fucked by Israels infinitive times.

    You braveless grand parents were enslaved by the Birtish while ours were beating the Italians and never been colonized by any one. Ethiopia has never ever lost wars and I don’t think that no one is brave than us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Come and try us, we now started constructing the Big Nile Dame and what are u doing? We know very well that you have collected counless war weapons but never forget that it is brave heart that win. Look what the Talibans are fucking the US and NATO.

    Tell your governemnt to come and fight us… but we will continue constructing the big vere huge dam in Africa.

    1. It most certainly is a case of national security. Egyptians get 95% of their drinking water from the nile river and it still isn’t enough!

      But Egypt definitely wouldn’t go to war over this. Not because it can’t, but it’s mostly a matter of war being absolutely useless in such situations.

      We can call each other names and boast about our own self-conjured merits, but in the end, war would be undeniably destructive for all entrants.

      The more challenging task is reaching a compromise peacefully. Where Africans get their rights to use the water for projects, and Egyptians get enough drinking water to keep them alive.

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