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War Drums on the Nile Morsi “, If it loses one drop,our blood is the alternative, All Options are Open” part III

June 11, 2013 in Water Crisis

Egypt’s president has warned Ethiopia that “all options are open” in dealing with its construction of a Nile dam that threatens to leave Egypt with a dangerous water shortage.

Speaking in a live televised speech before hundreds of supporters on Monday, Mohammed Morsi said Egypt was not calling for war, but it is willing to confront any threats to its water security.

“If it loses one drop, our blood is the alternative,” he said to a raucous crowd of largely Islamist supporters that erupted into a standing ovation.

Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion hydroelectric dam, which would be Africa’s largest, challenges a colonial-era agreement that had given Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of rights to Nile water.

Egyptian lifeline

Experts estimate that Egypt could lose as much as 20 percent of its Nile water in the three to five years needed for Ethiopia to fill a massive reservoir.

Morsi’s speech reflected the importance of the Nile River to Egypt. It provides almost all of the fresh water to a country that is otherwise largely parched desert.

As much as 85 percent of the Nile’s water comes from Ethiopia.

“We are not calling for war, but we will not allow, at all, threats against our water security,” Morsi said before adding, “all options are open.”

“The great Nile is that which all our lives are connected to. The lives of the Egyptians are connected around it … as one great people,” Morsi told the crowd.

Ethiopians in Egypt manifested against the “Death Dam”

June 10, 2013 in Ethiopians in Egypt manifested

Ethiopians in Egypt complain of Renaissance Dam backlash (original title Al-Ahram

Ethiopians protest in front of United Nations Commissioner for Refugees

Tens of Ethiopians protest in front of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees on Sunday against Ethiopian government for building the Renaissance Dam (Photo: Al-Ahram Arabic Language news website)

Tens of Ethiopian refugees protested on Sunday against harassment in Egypt outside the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The protesters, members of the Oromo tribe who fled Ethiopia due to political and ethnic persecution, also spoke out against Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam.
Abdel-Kader Goumy, one of the protesters, told Al-Ahram’s Arabic language news website that the Renaissance Dam is intended to generate electricity, and, as such, there is no reason it should be built on the Nile, rather than on Ethiopia’s other rivers.
“The tribe supports Egypt’s right not to be adversely affected [by the dam]… Addis Ababa is not in need of water, rather it aims to build the dam for political purposes,” he added.
Yehia Mohamed, another Ethiopian refugee belonging to the Oromo tribe, said, “Sunday’s protest comes after we have suffered harassment by some Egyptians due to the Ethiopian government’s decision to build the Renaissance Dam.”
Mohamed explained that the Oromo have sought political asylum in countries such as Egypt, Kenya, and Somalia in order to flee sectarian persecution.
He also added that the Ethiopian government excludes the Oromo from all decision-making, including the decision to build the Renaissance Dam.
Protesters lifted Egyptian and Ethiopian flags, declaring their refusal to support a dam that will “damage Egypt and will not help Ethiopia.”
On Wednesday, Egypt will demand that Ethiopia halts building on the dam, according to Reuters, citing a senior Egyptian government aide. If so, this will ramp up confrontation over a project that Egypt fears will affect its main source of water.
Ethiopia set off alarm bells in Cairo last week when it began diverting a stretch of the Blue Nile to make way for the $4.7 billion hydroelectric plant.
The Nile riparian countries have argued over the use of the Niles’ waters for decades – and analysts have repeatedly warned that these disputes could boil over into war.
The high stakes around this issue were highlighted Monday when senior Egyptian politicians were caught on camera advising President Mohamed Morsi to take hostile action against the project. One advisor went on to suggest that Cairo destroy the dam.
Egypt, which has been involved in years of troubled diplomacy with Ethiopia and other upstream countries, said Ethiopia must halt work on the dam.
“Demanding that Ethiopia stop construction of the dam it plans to build on the Blue Nile will be our first step,” said Pakinam El-Sharkawy, the presidential aide for political affairs, in comments carried by the state news agency MENA.
“The national committee that will be formed to deal with this issue will determine the steps that Egypt has to take,” she explained.
The Oromo make up 35 percent of the population in Ethiopia.

‘All options open’ on Ethiopia dam, Egypt warns

June 6, 2013 in Egypt warns

Egyptian policemen stand guard outside the Ethiopian embassy on
June 2, in Cairo. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)
CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt will demand that Ethiopia stop construction of a Nile river dam and warned “all options are open” if it harms its water supply, advisers to President Mohamed Mursi said on Wednesday.”It is Egypt’s right to defend its interests,” said Ayman Ali, one of Mursi’s advisers, in comments carried by the official MENA news agency.

“Other people have a right to seek their own interests. But there must be guarantees that the Ethiopian dam will not harm Egypt, otherwise all options are open,” he added.

Presidential adviser Pakinam El Sharkawy said Egypt would demand that the upstream country end its construction of the dam.

The presidency has said the dam is a “national security” issue for Egypt.

“Demanding of Ethiopia to stop construction of the dam it intends to build on the Blue Nile will be our first step,” MENA quoted her as saying.

Egypt believes more studies are needed on the dam’s impact on its water supply which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile, although far more on the flow down the White Nile from the Great Lakes of East Africa, than that down the Blue Nile from the Ethiopian highlands.

Ethiopia has begun diverting the Blue Nile 500 meters from its natural course to construct a $4.2 billion hydroelectric project known as Grand Renaissance Dam.

The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in Khartoum to form the Nile which flows through Sudan and Egypt before emptying into the Mediterranean.

The first phase of construction is due to be finished in three years, with a capacity of 700 megawatts. Once fully complete, the dam will have a capacity of 6,000 megawatts.

Egypt believes its “historic rights” to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile’s flow and give it veto power over upstream projects.

But a new deal was signed in 2010 by other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, allowing them to work on river projects without Cairo’s prior agreement.