ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia vowed not to “cave in to aggressions of any kind” after US President Donald Trump lashed out over the country’s Nile River mega-dam and suggested Egypt might destroy it.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office defended the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and said Ethiopia was working to resolve longstanding issues over the project with downstream neighbors Sudan and Egypt.
“Nonetheless, occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” Abiy’s office said. “”These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.”
“Ethiopia will not cave-in to aggressions of any kind,” the statement added.
Trump made the latest remarks late Friday as he announced a breakthrough normalization deal between U.S. ally Israel and Sudan.
He expressed openly that he was siding with Egypt on the negotiation currently led by the African Union while speaking in his Oval Office with leaders of Sudan and Israel on speakerphone.
“They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something,” Trump said.
He went on to say the Egyptian “should have stopped it long before” Ethiopia started constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project in 2011.
Trump – a close ally of Egypt’s general turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi involve itself in the negotiation at the request of Cairo.
His administration came up with an agreement which supports Egypt forcing Ethiopia to withdraw from the negotiation. Since then, the Trump administration threatened to cut off aid to Ethiopia for filling the dam which Addis Ababa is building from its own money.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is an affirmation of Ethiopia’s commitment for equitable and reasonable utilization of the Abbay River.
Ethiopian’s aspiration and commitment for development is best demonstrated through the unanimous support and contribution to the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
From the very inception, GERD has been an attempt to answer what has been our generations’ quest for an equitable and reasonable utilization of the Abbay and other rivers contributing to Nile from Ethiopia. About 85% Nile flow originates from Ethiopia. It is an inflection point where a nation and its proud people stopped lamenting the past and toiled to achieve what once seemed impossible. In this regard, a great milestone was reached last August 2020 when the first phase of the water filling was completed before the end of Ethiopia’s winter season.
Parallel to this construction work, Ethiopia has expressed on several occasions its abiding commitment for a cooperation on the Nile based on mutual trust and the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization of the River. The negotiation with the lower riparian states has shown significant progress since the AU seized of the matter as a manifestation of Africa’s capability to respond to its own problems. Nonetheless, 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 international law.
As a developing nation, Ethiopia may be confronted with poverty but are rich with history, patriotic citizens whose commitment to defend their country’s sovereignty is unparalleled and an ambition and a well-articulated plan for prosperity. Ethiopia will not cave-in to aggressions of any kind, nor do we give recognition to a right that is entirely based on colonial treaties.
We still wish to reiterate our commitment for a peaceful resolution of the matter on GERD based on cooperation, non-interference, mutual trust and the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization.