Monday, June 10, 2013

Egypt wrong in its rhetoric over Nile-Gulf News

Any concerns must be addressed with due respect to the sovereignty and needs of Ethiopia
Even though the River Nile does not belong to Egypt alone, some of its leaders seem to believe that it does and that they can act accordingly. They are wrong,
In brazen disregard for international convention and law, some Egyptian politicians reportedly recommended the country back rebels and engage in sabotage in Ethiopia to prevent it from building a dam on the Nile.
The hydroelectric dam will be the largest in Africa and export power to the rest of the continent, which is desperately short of electricity. The dam is not expected to significantly impact Egypt’s water supply once it is in operation. And, Ethiopia has every right to use its natural resources for the development of the country and its neighbours. It would be easy to dismiss the proposals that were raised in a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi, as the ravings of the fringe, except for the worrying reaction of the president and his aides. Rather than clearly condemning the proposals and rhetoric, an aide to Mursi simply apologised to the political leaders for not warning them that their meeting was being broadcast on television.
Mursi merely limited himself to saying the Egypt will not engage in aggressive acts against Ethiopia. And, his office warned that “Egypt will never surrender its rights to Nile water and all options [to safeguard it] are being considered”. Nile water is a vital resource for Egypt and any legitimate concerns must be addressed, with due respect to the sovereignty and needs of Ethiopia.
If Egypt engages in any underhand activity to destabilise Ethiopia, it may face opposition from the international community – something it cannot afford given its shaky economy and political instability.
Egypt must publicly commit itself to addressing its concerns through the legal means. East Africa is a volatile region that cannot afford reckless threats.