Mon 28/12/2015 | Egypt Independent
African affairs experts have differed on Egypt’s strategy for dealing with the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam problem and predicted the outbreak of war in the region. Some said Addis Ababa is pursuing a fait accompli policy while Egypt is dealing with the situation in goodwill, adding that Cairo will resort to the United Nations if the problem continues.
Hani Raslan of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies said Egypt has been negotiating for a year and a half with goodwill, while Ethiopia is pursuing a fait accompli policy and disregarding possible damages to Egypt from the diversion of the Nile.
“Goodwill has failed,” he said. “Ethiopia is stalling and gaining time.”
He said that the remarks of Water Resources Minister Hossam al-Maghazi that the diversion of the Nile does not technically mean the water is being stored in front of the dam consolidate Ethiopia’s interests, calling on the political leadership to devise a plan to deal with the problem.
Raslan’s colleague, Amani al-Tawil, said that escalation on the part of Ethiopia proves that Egypt’s strategy has failed. “Ethiopia is now able to test the filling of the dam,” she said.
“This is changing the balance of power not just in Egyptian-Ethiopian relations, but in the relations between North and East Africa,” she said.
She said the technical report of the international committee said the safety factor of the dam is unknown, which may affect the human security of the Nile Basin countries. “This can lead to wars and conflicts over Nile water,” she warned.
She called for an international campaign that shows Ethiopia’s breaches of the Declaration of Principles. “We should be proactive and not reactive,” she said.
Former Assistant Foreign Minister Mona Omar, however, did not agree that Egypt’s strategy has failed. “Ethiopia is intransigent,” she said. “If Ethiopia does not stop building the dam at least temporarily, Egypt should resort to international mediation based on the Nile Basin treaties and the charters of the United Nations.”
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm