- Many Questions U.S.’s Observer role in the talks
ADDIS ABEBA – Many Ethiopians took to their social media to criticize the government of the United States over its biased stand regarding the renaissance dam.
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are currently in talks over the filling of a controversial mega-dam, Addis Ababa is building over the Nile.
Amid the negotiation, the Whitehouse National Security Council released a statement that sides with Egypt stand, saying for the GERD deal to be done “before filling it with Nile River water!”.
Ethiopia plans to start filling the dam in July as per the project’s schedule. Egypt doesn’t want that while its dilly-dallying position regarding the repatriate talks forcing the current negation over the dam not to succeed.
The statement from the country which assumed an observer role but time and again wants to satisfy the quest of keeping status quo regarding Nile water did not sit well with many Ethiopians here and abroad.
Ethiopian investment commissioner Abebe Abebayehu, in his twitter post, has rejected the remark saying it “isn’t anyone’s damn business to dictate unacceptable terms to us”.
He called the statement “unconstructive and old-fashioned” and added such “belligerent threats serve no purpose. Nothing will deter Ethiopia in the exercise of its legitimate rights”.
A Prominent political figure Jawar Mohammed has also questioned U.S.’s role.
On his twitter post, he said “Is this statement from NSC a threat to blackmail us into accepting unfair deal? Are we collateral damage of Middle East policies? The Nile needs to be decolonized. Yet the US is using blatant neocolonial tactic. It is Unacceptable”.
The dam talks have been suspended since Wednesday at the request of Khartoum, whose negotiators whats to consult Sudan’s prime minister regarding the progress so far.
The construction of the $5-billion dam, which is around 74% complete and is expected to provide much-needed electricity to Ethiopia, where over 60 million people have no access to electricity.
“Successive U.S. governments denied Ethiopia her right to develop by blocking effort to harness the country’s water resources for development. This was stealing from Ethiopia to pay Egypt for serving US Arab/Israel politics. Enough already,” Bilisuma Kegna said.
An American based Community organization named Ethiopian American Civic Council has also criticized the statement calling it a “blatant siding with Egypt”.
The US can’t be a neutral observer while echoing the demand of one side, it said.
“As Ethiopian-American, we find the statement deplorable,” it said. “We expect the US government to be a fair and neutral arbiter, this statement is neither fair nor neutral!! It is time the US to show leadership to encourage both sides to resolve the issue based on equitable use”.
This is not the first time the U.S. shows its support to Egypt while claiming its role as observer.
On February 28, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cautioned Addis Ababa not to start filling the dam as planned before a final agreement after Ethiopia stayed away from a followup meeting in Washington.
The following day, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew slammed the U.S. for being “undiplomatic” and called for continued talks to settle unresolved matters.
Ethiopia has criticized the U.S. for diverging from its role as a mediator.
Talk of US bias in the process it is meant only to observe, alongside the World Bank, is doing the rounds in Ethiopia, with some analysts seeing Washington’s strong support for Cairo as a means fostering US leverage in the Middle East.
By Sisay Sahlu