Ethiopia accuses Trump of ‘incitement of war’

incitement of war
Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam undergoes construction work in Guba in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in 2019. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

(The Washington Post) — Ethiopia accused President Trump on Saturday of “incitement of war” between Addis Ababa and Cairo, a day after Trump said Egypt will “blow up” a contentious Ethiopian dam.

The two countries, connected by the Blue and White Nile rivers, have been at odds over Ethiopia’s hydropower dam and regional water-sharing plans for years. Ethiopia sees its nearly completed $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as a vital national project to spring millions out of poverty. But further downstream, Egypt has deemed it an existential threat over worries it will disrupt water access for its booming population.

Africa’s largest dam powers dreams of prosperity in Ethiopia — and fears of hunger in Egypt

The long-standing tensions burst open again Friday, when Trump was on a call with Sudan and Israel to announce a deal to begin normalizing relations between the two former enemies. Trump’s comments then veered toward the dam dispute that also involves Sudan, which is located between Egypt and Ethiopia.

“[Egypt] will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said. “And I said it and I say it loud and clear … they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”

In response Saturday, Ethiopia’s foreign minister said in a statement that “the incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the long-standing partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations,” the Associated Press reported. He summoned the U.S. ambassador for clarification.

Ethiopia’s former prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, also weighed in, tweeting Saturday of Trump that “the man doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office also issued a statement Saturday criticizing the nature of the comments, though it did not directly name Trump, the AP reported.

“Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” the statement said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.”

The prime minister’s office added, “Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind.”

The United States tried to broker a deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Nile River impasse. But Addis Ababa accused Washington of being biased in its efforts and ultimately walked away from negotiations.

Then, in September, under Trump’s directives, the State Department suspended millions of dollars of foreign aid to Ethiopia after it began filling up a reservoir located behind the dam.

“They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” Trump said Friday.

Egypt — whose president, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, Trump has called his “favorite dictator” — warned in February that it could use “all available means” to defend itself against the dam.

Friday’s news also caused consternation in Sudan, where the entente with Israel has been met with heavy skepticism. Sudan is in period of political transition coupled with an economic crisis after the populace-led ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir last year.

In need of economic relief, the leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been lobbying Washington to remove the country from the U.S. terrorism list to spur new investment and banking opportunities.

Trump signed an executive order doing so Friday — a move seen as a condition for Sudan to agree to the U.S.-backed agreement with Israel. Sudan is the third Arab country to begin to normalize ties with Israel in recent weeks.

Sudan’s former prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, on Saturday blasted the development, calling Trump racist and warning that the deal would jeopardize the integrity of the fragile transitional government made up of civilian and military leaders.

“This statement contradicts the Sudanese national law and contributes to the elimination of the peace project in the Middle East and to preparing for the ignition of a new war,” al-Mahdi said in a letter, the AP reported.

Recent deals between the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have sparked criticism among Arab publics for excluding the interests of Palestinians, who are locked in a decades-old conflict with Israel.

Mahdi is the head of Sudan’s largest political party, which is aligned with the country’s pro-democracy movement. The transitional government has pledged to hold elections in 2022, after which the country will form a new parliament that under Sudanese law must ratify any normalization deal with Israel.

2 Comments

  1. President Trump said it “loud and clear”. His statement is not ambiguous any layman or even a child can clearly understand what he said. No need to ask for clarification unless the “obliviant” Ethiopia is asking for clarification about the terms of the deal the USA led mediators proposed to Ethiopia at the negotiation. If it is not about the proposed deal then even Ethiopia knows the danger GERD is facing, that is why all airplanes are forbidden from flying near GERD by Ethiopia. That is why heavy missiles are put all around GERD ready to shoot down any airplanes flying near GERD.

    The statement Trump made cannot be any clearer. Asking clarification just shows the inability or the lack of willingness to comprehend. USA knows the risk associated with building the GERD dam and came up with solution to bring peace by proposing a deal. If Ethiopia attended and continued negotiation Ethiopia would have been able to ask for clarification, if the proposed deal was not clear to Ethiopia at the negotiation but Ethiopia chose not to attend the negotiations. After quiet sometime asking for clarification says a lot about Ethiopia meaning Ethiopia stoped attending the USA mediated negotiation without even having ca cear understanding about the terms that were put on the table to Ethiopia. That shows Ethiopia’s little interest in promoting peace. Any peace loving country would scrutinize every last detail of the proposals until it becomes crystal clear before stoping attending a negotiation that was underway to preserve peace. If Ethiopia was led by a nobel deserving leader then Ethiopia needed to stay in the negotiation as long as it takes to clearly understand the proposals. Asking for clarification after all these times just shows how obliviant the Ethiopian government is in matters concerning peace. That is why Ethiopia is facing the danger .

    ETHIOPIANS PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION DEMANDING TO MAKE GERD A FISH FARM POND.

  2. ‘The prime minister’s office added, “Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind.”’

    What did the puppet and empty mind fake PM said? You are child killer! Geocide committer at home against Oromo and you don’t have the gut, capability and courage to take any action if Egypt blow up the dam and the country.

    Abiy, son of a prostitute, is a prostitute himself! He does not have the mental capacity, decency, tenacity, caliber, principle or morale to lead a village let alone a country!

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