Daily Archives: 14 March, 2013

Ethiopia: Rumors of Water War on the Nile?

Alemayehu G Mariam

Dam War of Words

[EthioMedia.com] Late last month, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan fired a shot across the bow from the Arab Water Council in Cairo to let the regime in Ethiopia know that his country takes a dim view of the “Grand Renaissance Dam” under “construction” on the Blue Nile (Abbay) a few miles from Sudan’s eastern border.   According to Prince Khalid, “The [Grand] Renaissance dam has its capacity of flood waters reaching more than 70 billion cubic meters of water… [I]f it collapsed Khartoum will be drowned completely and the impact will even reach the Aswan Dam…” The Prince believes the Dam is being built close to the “Sudanese border for political plotting rather than for economic gain and constitutes a threat to Egyptian and Sudanese national security…” The Prince raised the stakes by accusing the regime in Ethiopia of being hell-bent on harming Arab peoples. “There are fingers messing with water resources of Sudan and Egypt which are rooted in the mind and body of Ethiopia. They do not forsake an opportunity to harm Arabs without taking advantage of it…”

A spokesman for the regime in power in Ethiopia sought to minimize the importance of the Prince’s statement  by suggesting that the Saudi Ambassador in Addis Ababa had disavowed the Prince’s statement as official policy or a position endorsed by the Saudi government. The alleged disavowal of the statement of a member of the Saudi royal family and top defense official seems curiously disingenuous after the fact. But that is understandable since “an ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.” The regime spokesman also insinuated in fuzzy diplomatese that such inflammatory statements could result in war between Arab countries and African countries in the Nile basin.