ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopia on Saturday condemned the “belligerent threats” about the nearly complete huge dam on the Blue Nile river after US President Donald Trump’s fall of Egypt, calling the project is. An existential threat.
Without naming Trump or America, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed’s office statement caused an outrage in Ethiopia about the latest threat to Trump’s dam. The $ 4.6 billion grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride, intended to lift millions of people out of poverty.
Former Prime Minister Halimariam Desalegan called Trump’s remarks careless and irresponsible, saying, “The man has no clue what he is talking about.”
Trump made the comment announcing that Sudan would begin to normalize relations with Israel. Downstream Sudan is a side of negotiations with Ethiopia and Egypt over the disputed dam. “They (Egypt) will work to blow up the dam,” Trump said. “And I said it and I say it loudly and clearly … they will blow that dam. And they have to do something.”
Earlier this year, the US President asked the State Department to help millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia. Due to the dam dispute, the people of Ethiopia, who accused the US of being biased during their first attempts to broker a settlement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia walked away from those talks.
Trump said on Friday, “Unless they follow that agreement, they will never see that money.”
Saturday’s statement in Ethiopia said, “Occasional inappropriate words from the Ethiopian’s statements to the bully threat still abound.” “These threats and apprehensions for Ethiopia’s sovereignty are misguided, unproductive and blatant violations of international law.”
It added: “Ethiopia will not cave in to aggression of any kind.”
The Egyptian government had no comment on Trump’s comments, but the pro-government media covered them extensively.
Egypt has repeatedly stated that it wants to settle the dispute through diplomatic means, but has said that it will use “all available means” to protect the interests of its people.
Ethiopia celebrated the first filling of the dam in August, citing heavy rains for Egypt’s destruction. Ethiopia later banned flights to the dam amid concerns over possible military action by Egypt.
Now, with Trump’s new remarks, some Ethiopians are urging Ethiopian Americans to help them vote out of office in next month’s election.
A statement from Abi’s office said talks with Egypt and Sudan showed significant progress as the African Union stepped in to oversee them. Trump’s statement could undermine that process, with Abell Abate Demici, an associate of Chatham House, saying it proves that America was not an honest broker from the start.
Ethiopia says the Colossal Dam could help it become a major electricity exporter. Egypt is dependent on the Nile to supply a growing population of 100 million from its farmers and fresh water.
Negotiators have said that major questions remain over how much water Ethiopia will release in the event of a multi-year drought and how the country will resolve future disputes. Ethiopia rejects binding arbitration at the final stage.
A military attack on the dam would be disastrous, a water expert warned. The dam already has more than 4.9 billion cubic meters of reservoir, ”Abebe Yirga told the Associated Press. “If this huge amount of water comes out of the dam it will affect thousands of people.”
The Blue Nile joins the White Nile River in Sudan to form the Nile, and approximately 85% of the river originates from Ethiopia. Officials expect the dam, now more than three-quarters full, to reach full power generation capacity in 2023.
Sammy Maggie contributed to Cairo.