By Mahmoud Fouly CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua)
-- The ongoing political unrest in
Ethiopia is likely to affect the pace of its negotiations with
Egypt on the technical studies related to Ethiopia’s
under-construction giant dam on their shared Nile River and its
post-construction filling process.
While Ethiopia and
Sudan eye massive benefits from the construction of the Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Egypt is concerned it might
affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile
Ethiopia’s dam talks with Egypt depends on the degree of
political instability there,” said Amany al-Taweel, director of
the African Unit at Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political
and Strategic Studies.
She explained that
the situation regarding the dam issue will remain the same as
long as the Ethiopian government is able to handle the unrest
and restrict it to the level of ineffective protests, even if
they continue for a long time.
escalate to a point of overwhelming the state institutions, this
will surely affect the dam talks and the GERD construction rate
might slow down due to possible disorder and confusion,” the
expert told Xinhua.
Egypt’s ties with
Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the
dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil
following an uprising that toppled veteran President Hosni
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, he showed
understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through
the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of
electricity to the country.
In March 2015, the
leaders of upstream Nile Basin country Ethiopia and the two
downstream partners Egypt and Sudan signed an initial
cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River
water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s
largest dam upon completion.
“Since Sisi came to
office, he has adopted a cooperative, win-win approach of
handling the GERD issue,” said Taweel, citing the positive
results of the latest visit of Ethiopia’s outgoing Prime
Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn to Cairo and the convention of
the Ethiopian-Egyptian joint cooperation committee.
“So, we cannot
describe the bilateral relations between Egypt and Ethiopia as
tense in general, but they are just at odds when it comes to the
dam issue,” she added, describing the Ethiopian position
regarding the dam negotiations as “ambiguous and evasive.”
protests have been triggered by the country’s two biggest ethnic
groups Oromia and Amhara who say that they have for years been
marginalized by the government.
The presidents of
Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have recently met in Ethiopia’s
capital Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 30th
African Union summit and agreed to avoid misunderstandings by
joint cooperation on common interests.
The meetings of a
tripartite technical committee on the GERD have been fruitless
over the past sessions and a new ministerial meeting scheduled
for Feb. 24-25 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has been delayed
upon Ethiopia’s request due to its current political
understanding of Ethiopia’s request to delay the upcoming
tripartite negotiations, yet the Egyptian Foreign Ministry urged
for immediate address of the GERD issue “to reach solutions that
maintain the interests of all.”
“The Ministry looks
forward to the adherence of the timeframe determined by the
three leaders to settle the existing technical disputes;
especially as the Renaissance Dam issue affects the interests of
the peoples of the three nations,” said Egyptian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement Sunday.
diplomat Ahmed Haggag, former assistant secretary-general of the
Organization of African Unity (OAU), explained that Ethiopia
hosts several ethnic groups with different languages, which
makes it difficult to run the country’s affairs from the center
in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia has been
facing incessant protests since 2016, especially in the three
most populous regional states of Oromia, Amhara and Southern
Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP).
to about 40 percent of Ethiopia’s population and Amhara to some
25 percent and they feel marginalization by Dessalegn’s
government,” Haggag, also Egypt’s former ambassador to Kenya,
Haggag believes that
the ongoing political instability in Ethiopia is likely to delay
the pace of negotiations regarding the dam.
resignation may lead to delaying the GERD negotiations, as
upcoming tripartite ministerial and technical meetings to be
held in Khartoum have already been delayed as per Ethiopia’s
request.” the ex-diplomat told Xinhua.
EU calls for inclusive dialogue
to solve Ethiopian political crisis
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The European Union (EU) mission to Ethiopia on
Monday called for the Ethiopian government to conduct dialogue
among all stakeholders to resolve the political crisis.
The EU, in a
statement that did not explicitly oppose the martial law imposed
on Friday, urged the Ethiopian government to limit its scope and
respect human rights.
government imposed the state of emergency on Friday, saying it
was to protect the constitution, citizens and their property
from the ongoing violent protests in some parts of the country.
“Only a constructive
dialogue among all stakeholders—authorities, opposition, media,
civil society—will allow for a peaceful and durable resolution
of the crisis,” said the EU statement.
On Saturday, the
U.S. embassy in Ethiopia urged Addis Ababa to reconsider its
decision to institute martial law, saying they “strongly
disagree” with the move.
Both the EU and the
United States are key development partners to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has been
facing incessant protests since 2016, especially in its three
most populous Oromia, Amhara and Southern regional states.
The political crisis
led to the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
last week. The last time Ethiopia witnessed a resignation of a
prime minister was 44 years ago.
Ethiopian Martyrs Day: youth
urged to fight poverty, uphold stability
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
Ethiopian youth were called on to
eradicate poverty and uphold the long-standing peace and
stability values during the Martyrs Day celebration.
and elders made the calls while commemorating the 81st
Martyrs Day on Monday, which marked the massacre and
imprisonment of Ethiopians by the Italian occupying forces 81
Laying wreath at the
Martyrs’ Monument in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Lij Daniel
Jote Mesfin, President of Ethiopian Patriots Association,
stressed that the fight against poverty and hatred ideology are
the current generations’ task.
that as many as 30,000 Ethiopians were killed by the Italian
forces in 1937, mainly through indiscriminate killings in Addis
The incident is
considered as one of the worst atrocities committed by the
Italian occupation forces and has been described as the worst
massacre in Ethiopian history.
day in Addis Ababa was attended by officials from the federal
government, Addis Ababa City Administration and representatives
of civil societies and the general public.
sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest independent countries, has not been
colonized apart from a five-year occupation by Italy forces
under the leadership of Benito Mussolini.
Ethiopia and Russia commend 120
years of diplomatic relations
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia and Russia on
Monday commended the two countries’ 120 years of diplomatic
relations, with particular praise to relations in the economic,
political and international matters.
Workneh Gebeyehu and
Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia and Russia
respectively, on Monday exchanged telegram that touched on the
two countries’ century-old ties and future partnership
implications, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign
Gebeyehu, the past 120 years of diplomatic relations among the
two countries “have been a period of consistent friendship and
fruitful partnership, particularly in upholding and defending
the cardinal principles of state sovereignty and independence.”
noted that the celebrations of 120 years of diplomatic relations
would serve as an impetus to recommit the two countries to work
towards a much more dynamic and encompassing partnership.
Lavrov on his part
also commended the achievements made during the historic
relations, particularly noting the “high level mutual
understanding in the international arena and unchanged
commitment towards each others’ interest.”
The Russian foreign
minister further expressed his expectations that the
“time-proved partnership among the two countries will continue
to strengthen in order to ensure peace and stability on the
government has recently indicated its ambition to strengthen
economic and investment relations with Russia to cut its trade
deficit with Moscow.
According to Meles
Alem, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, the current trade
relations between the two “historically connected countries”
stood in favor of Russia.
Ethiopian export to
Russia last year totaled about 24.8 million U.S. dollars, while
its import from Russia was 52.4 million dollars, according to
figures from the ministry.