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U.S. president's comments about Ethiopia's grand dam ignites uproar

(Xinhua)    09:48, October 25, 2020

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government and the public are in uproar on Saturday after the U.S. President Donald Trump's strong comment regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The U.S. president on Friday voiced strong comment regarding Ethiopia's grand dam, a 6,500-MW hydroelectric dam under construction on the Blue Nile River, which is a major tributary to the world's longest Nile River that flows all the way to the two lower riparian countries Sudan and Egypt.

The dam, which was commenced back in April 2011 will be regarded as Africa's largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74,000 billion cubic meters. The dam has been a major issue among the three Nile-bound countries.

On Friday, Trump voiced anger at Ethiopia over its construction of a huge dam on the Nile River and appeared to suggest that Egypt may destroy it.

Trump made the remarks as he announced a breakthrough normalization deal between U.S. ally Israel and Sudan, saying "it's a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way."

The U.S. president also noted that Egypt will "end up blowing up the dam."

Trump's comments were received with much anger and frustration among Ethiopians from all walks of lives.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister's Office in a statement issued on Saturday stressed that "occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound."

"These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law," the PM office said, as it emphasized the unity of Ethiopians concerning national security issues.

"As a developing nation, Ethiopia may be confronted with poverty but are rich with history, patriotic citizens whose commitment to defend their country's sovereignty is unparalleled; and an ambition and a well-articulated plan for prosperity," the statement read.

It also stressed that the East African country "will not cave-in to aggressions of any kind, nor do we give recognition to a right that is entirely based on colonial treaties."

Ethiopia's former Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, also voiced strong message against the U.S. president's remarks, stating that Trump has "no clue" on the matter.

"Reckless conversation of the President of U.S. with Sudanese Prime Minister. Sorry to say but the man doesn't have a clue on what he is talking about. Ethiopia and Ethiopians will never be threatened by such irresponsible statement. History will teach every one," Desalegn wrote via twitter.

In July, Ethiopia announced the much-awaited first-year filling of the dam to be under construction on the Blue Nile river in Ethiopia's Benishangul Regional State in proximity to the Ethiopia-Sudan border.

Rising from Lake Tana on the outskirts of Bahir Dar, the Blue Nile or Abay River is one of the two principal headwaters of the world's longest Nile River. The Blue Nile flows some 1,600-km southwards then northwest into Ethiopia's neighboring country Sudan before it meets the White Nile in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The Blue Nile, which contributes more than 85 percent of the Nile waters, further flows northwards into Egypt after meeting the White Nile, and finally ends in the Mediterranean Sea after crossing the North African country.

The diplomatic relations among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have been over the years largely intertwined with the Blue Nile River that originates from Ethiopia and shared among the three countries.

Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country, has been frequently expressing its concern that Ethiopia's mega-dam might affect its share of the river water, while the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has repeatedly vowed that the dam will not harm Egypt or Sudan, saying the dam project would "ensure an equitable and reasonable" utilization of the river waters among the three concerned countries.

Egypt and Sudan have been also calling on Ethiopia not to start filling the dam without reaching an agreement.

Amid the continued, yet less fruitful, trilateral discussions among representatives of the three countries on the filling of the dam, the three countries have been in recent weeks engaged in through African Union (AU)-led discussions towards reaching an agreement. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)

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