Ethiopian Diplomat Summoned to Egypt Over Nile Dam Remarks

The Egyptian foreign ministry “summoned the Ethiopian Charge d’Affaires in Cairo to explain comments by the spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry for Foreign Affairs regarding domestic Egyptian affairs,”

The Egyptian foreign ministry has summoned Ethiopia’s top diplomat in Cairo concerning comments by an Addis Ababa official regarding the controversial Nile Dam.

The Egyptian foreign ministry “summoned the Ethiopian Charge d’Affaires in Cairo to explain comments by the spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry for Foreign Affairs regarding domestic Egyptian affairs,” it said late on Wednesday.

The issued statement did not however cite any specific comment, but followed a statement by the Ethiopian official on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, which has in the past year, raised fears for vital water supplies downstream in Egypt and Sudan.

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“They know the GERD won’t harm them, it’s a diversion from internal problems,” The Ethiopian ministry’s spokesman and a former ambassador to Egypt, Dina Mufti, said on Tuesday.

Mufti said that without this “distraction”, Egypt and Sudan would “have to deal with many local issues waiting to explode, especially up there [in Egypt]”.

The Egyptian foreign ministry in a new statement on Thursday, condemned what it called an “attack on the Egyptian state” and accused Addis Ababa of using an “aggressive tone … to hide the multiple failures of Ethiopia at home and abroad”.

“It would have been better for the spokesman to pay attention to the deteriorating situation in his country, which is witnessing multiple conflicts and humanitarian crises that have killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of innocent civilians,” it said.

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On November 4, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the military to confront the ruling party of the dissident northern region of Tigray. Thousands are feared to have died as a result of the fightings that followed.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been in talks since 2011 but have been unable to reach a deal on filling the dam. The negotiations stalled since August.

The Nile, which is the longest river in the world at 6,000km (3,700 miles), is a lifeline supplying water and electricity to 10 countries.

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