Ethiopia has slammed US President Donald Trump’s recent “belligerent threats” regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute after Trump said Egypt will “blow up theDam”.
“Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a statement. “Ethiopia may be confronted with poverty but are rich with history, patriotic citizens whose commitment to defend their country’s sovereignty is unparalleled.”
In a call with Sudan’s Prime Minister while announcing that Sudan and Israel would normalize relations, Trump told reporters on Friday that the dam dispute is a “dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way and they’ll end up blowing up the Dam.”
Trump added that the United States had “stopped payment…a lot of aid” to Ethiopia.
“I had a deal done for [Egypt and Ethiopia] and then unfortunately Ethiopia broke the deal which they should not have done, that was a big mistake. We’ve stopped payment to them of a lot of aid because they did it.”
“They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” Trump added.
#Eygpt will “end up blowing up” the Grand #Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, US President Donald Trump told the #Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. pic.twitter.com/IEHAp4WvKi
— Eshete Bekele (@EsheteBekele) October 23, 2020
Trump continued that “you can’t blame Egypt for being a little upset”, noting that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam stops water from flowing down the Nile river.
“I had a deal done, and then they broke a deal, and they can’t do that, they can’t do that. So the deal was done. It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way. And they’ll end up blowing up the Dam. And I said it, and I’ll say it loud and clear, they’ll blow up that Dam. And they have to do something,” continued Trump, asking his Sudanese counterpart to “do whatever he can” to ensure the resolution of the matter.
“We’ve cut off all payment to Ethiopia and everything else to Ethiopia it was terrible. We were all set to sign a deal, it was negotiated for five years, longer than that, and they couldn’t make the deal and I got the deal done, and then they’re getting ready to sign the deal and they broke the deal, which is not good.
“And I’m telling Egypt the same thing by the way. They should’ve stopped [the Dam] long before it was started…but they had other things on their mind, that was a time when [Egypt] had a minor revolution, to put it mildly. That was a bad time for Egypt so I guess they had other things on their mind.”
Today, Egypt relies on the Nile River for 90 percent of its water, and also uses it to support agricultural and industrial industries, which turns it into a matter of human and national security.
In June, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed that Ethiopia will not start filling its new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July and will instead return to tripartite talks aimed at reaching a final binding agreement.
It came during an emergency African Union summit, which saw the leaders of the three countries – President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdouk and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – agree to form a committee of experts to finalise a binding agreement over the controversial Dam within the next few weeks.
However, in its own statement, Ethiopia said that construction of the GERD will continue and that it will commence the filling of the Dam.
There have been no significant developments since then and it remains unclear what the status of the Dam and the negotiations are.