News / Africa

Nile River Dispute Between Egypt, Ethiopia Sparks Tensions

This photo, made available on April 2, 2013, shows the construction of the dam in Ethiopia's Asosa region.
This photo, made available on April 2, 2013, shows the construction of the dam in Ethiopia's Asosa region.
Peter Heinlein
A former high-ranking Egyptian diplomat says Ethiopia’s move to divert the flow of the Nile River has needlessly heightened regional tensions.  Ethiopia began diverting the river this week as it builds a massive hydroelectric dam. Egypt, which depends on the Nile for its water supply, stressed that it has not approved the dam's construction. 

Ambassador Tarek Ghuneim was a key player in Nile water negotiations until shortly before his retirement last year. In a interview, the former Egyptian diplomat said those talks were characterized by mutual mistrust.

He questioned Ethiopia’s timing in announcing the diversion of Nile water, one day after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s visit to Addis Ababa, and just days before release of a study on the effects of building a giant dam on the river.

Ghuneim also expressed doubts about the coming report of a commission examining the pros and cons of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam.  Critical information has been withheld from the tripartite commission, made up of independent experts and representatives from Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, he said. "This committee would not be able to come to a full conclusion because of a lack of information being withheld from the Ethiopian side."  

Ghuneim expressed hope that the international community will intervene to make the three countries cooperate in a way that will benefit them all.  He said cooperation would have the additional benefit of persuading the World Bank and others to provide critically needed funding and quality control measures.

"We here in Egypt understand that lack of energy in Ethiopia; it needs energy, we understand," he said. "But do it in a way that it will not affect negatively any other country.  And that’s the problem they face in financing this dam from the international financial organizations, like the [World] Bank, because it’s standing policy is not to fund anything unless there is consensus from all parties involved."

Ethiopia has said the dam will provide essential energy for the country's development and will not harm countries further downstream.

Ghuneim said this might be a good time for some breakthrough in the long-stalled talks on Nile River water sharing.  He points out that the two leaders who presided over the stalemate, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi, have left the scene, replaced by a new generation that might be more willing to look at the issues in a different way.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Dr. John Ibekwe from: USA
June 11, 2013 10:52 AM
Morsi should study the geography of the Nile. Two rivers originating from from Black Africa make up the Nile. The white Nile originates from the great lakes of Central Africa between Rwanda and Burundi, and courses upwards through Burundi, Rwanda,Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. The blue Nile originates from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and meets the white Nile in Sudan near Khartoum. It is the Blue Nile from Ethiopia that gives River Nile its force and flow. The co-joint River Nile then passes through Eritrea and Egypt and empties in the Mediterranean. Nile is an international river passing through 11 or 12 African countries and any of these countries has the right to use the Nile within its territory. Any agreement on the use of Nile must involve the 12 countries. The agreement between Britain and Egypt is obsolete just like any other fraudulent agreement between Britain and the colonies. Egypt should realize that as industrial developments are embarked upon by the countries along the Nile, there will be further use of the Nile by these countries. How many wars can Egypt fight with the other Nile partners in the name of agreement between Egypt and Britain? Egypt cannot claim the Nile alone. She must come to terms with the realities of today and remain in peace with other Nile neighbors in order to take advantage of the Nile. Supposing Rwanda and Burundi decide to divert the Nile at its source, then Egypt will no longer see the Nile. Meaningful use of the Nile from its source to its end at the Mediterranean is the way out. Nile is an international river given by God to all the countries in its long course. Let common sense prevail!


by: EYASU from: ETHIOPIA
June 06, 2013 8:41 PM
I hope the Egyptians people are not any more kid for their political leader b/c we know what is happen in the past ten years in the continent of Africa, most country including Ethiopia became most diplomatically accepted but Egypt are not even mention. Here both country's political leader use the issue of Nile as political solution.For me both country have related in their history ,culture & religion so they must stop to creativity conflict b/n these two country especially Egyptians.
If the Ethiopian government aims to harm Egypt's and generate electricity , it is shame and also Egyptian will also want lonely user of the Nile forever it also awful.
But as I said above if Egyptian try to fight with Ethiopia , the result will be harsh for them b/c no invader was not touch the black lion in the past plus economically Egypt is more affected by the war.


by: me from: addis
June 03, 2013 1:36 PM
Egypt must refrain from its acts of destabilizing Ethiopia .Their long time fear ( Ethiopia's capability and peace )is now a reality .

Their negative efforts will be met by negative actions . If ever they resort to war , not only we shall defend our mother land but THEY WILL NOT GET A DROP OF WATER FOR GOOD .


by: hisham saleh from: egypt
June 01, 2013 8:11 AM
I'm from Egypt :
First of all we don't want to go to war with Ethiopia or any other country -our army is to protect our land not to attack other countries - we are not the USA that attack any one without reason
second we don't hate Ethiopia or see it as an enemy and we wish them to grow and prosper
BUT the water is essential for all the humans so we need to work something out to benefit Ethiopia and in the same time don't harm Egypt .
I read a study that most of the rain fall in Ethiopia go to wast if we can collect it with some projects and feed the river with more water then we'll both benefit from it even with the dam built .
If we look to the river as a one body that we can develop all at once we can redouble the water for all it's countries and generate electricity that we all need .
Most of the problem come from the mistrust and lack of communications between Egypt and Ethiopia -especially because of your cooperation with our nemesis enemy (Israel )
that we don't trust it's intent toward us - how we trust that if we have to go to war with Israel they'll not use that dam to stop the water and district us to fight in two sides .
that is the real problem not that we hate the good for Ethiopia or we want them to live in dark ages - we wish to all the African countries to develop and for Africa (Including Egypt ) to rise as a global power and defend it's rights .

In Response

by: David from: CA
June 01, 2013 4:41 PM
Dear Hisham, Thank you for your comment. We never cooperated with anyone to harm Egypt.

Ethiopians are the only one financing this dam. Egypt has been blocking loans and funds from World Bank. She also has been helping rebels in Horn of Africa. Why Egypt does those evil things if she want to see to developed and prospered Africans? Our arms stretched for love and peace, but many Egyptians brothers have been discussing in many Arabic website how to use Eritreans and Somalis blood and souls to keep Egypt's selfish interest. This need to Stop!


by: Reality Check
May 31, 2013 10:43 PM
Funny how media refuse to quote President Morsi who said Renaissance Dam will not harm Egypt, and he has a PhD in engineering from USC. The dam is for hydroelectricity, not crop irrigation. Impact to Egypt is negligible, but media are allergic to real facts that don't sell papers.


by: Shibru from: California, USA
May 31, 2013 6:05 PM
@John Doe: " ... the unilateral decision making policy that Ethiopia has takes with no RIGHTS to do so."

I read your comments and citations to what you referred to as international and agreed rights and the the one I quoted above from your write-ups. I wish you also comment tooth and nail, as you did it here, on the legitimacy of the unilateral decision that Egypt took with it former colonial master without consulting with Ethiopia on the resource that originates in Ethiopia and that flows in the Ethiopian territory for hundreds of miles.

As for referring to international treaties and rules of law, I very much feel that you have a lot to preach here at your own back yard rather than doing it across the Atlantic or Pacific.

One important point, though; Egypt and Ethiopia -- and ESPECIALLY their fellow citizens -- share the same destiny and they are wise enough to sort out any outstanding issue in their own way; they fully understand where crocodile tears flow from and for what eventual reason. By the way, those who master-mined the concept of Kashmir and Ogaden may have done so for the same reason when they embraced Egypt (and the Sudan) and left out Ethiopia in their so-called Nile Treaty; they may be happy to hear the drum beating of war between Egypt and Ethiopia and they even be planning who would deliver arms to which party and the cover of which agent. Remember who was delivering arms to Iran and Iraq during their long years of war?

~


by: Shibru from: California, USA
May 31, 2013 5:27 PM
The last paragraph of the report says, quote, " ... a new generation that might be more willing to look at the issues in a different way ...".

Ethiopia has always been willing to look at the issue from different perspectives, but short of abandoning the dam project. The waters of the BLUE NILE are God-given to Ethiopian than probably to Egypt. Any healthy brain of a human being does not contemplate Ethiopia not to use the resources generated in its own territory and, further, try to give advice that Ethiopia should use the other rivers and not the Nile.

Egypt should stop fermenting and conducting unrest in Ethiopia under the cover of freedom for Muslims; the same tactic that it has always been using since the time of Emperor Haile Sellassie through student movement and by supporting the Eritrean secessionists for long.

Thus, Egypt should start approaching not only the dam issues, but its very attitude towards Ethiopia and Ethiopians in a different way all together.


by: Aklilu from: Ethiopia
May 31, 2013 3:28 PM
The Egyptian Media has an obligation to tell the truth than igniting the tension between two friendly countries. The agreement between Egypt and Britain to use Nile in 1929 without Ethiopian involvement is outdated. Ethiopia has not an obligation be bid by this rule. But negotiation between the two countries is important. As a source of Abay(Nile) we have every right to use our resource. I am sure Egyptian will not choose a war as a solution. If that is the case Egypt will lose as Italians did. I hope we have good politician from both side to work for better use of Abay(nile).

God bless Ethiopia and Egypt


by: euel from: Jnadu
May 31, 2013 4:40 AM
Where does the Water Originate!!???
The water comes from Ethiopia not from Red sea or Indian Ocean. It is from the heart of Ethiopia. Can Ethiopia prevent tourists from visiting Egypt's pyramids since it may harm the tourist flow to Ethiopia?? Egypt's stand is like that.....Egypt wants to develop projects for Ethiopia, Egypt wants to develop policies to Ethiopia,....After all, Egypt is one of the poor African countries that needs to work hard to bring its people out of poverty....How many Egyptians do have sufficient food and shelter....rather than getting obsessed with war where the budget could help its poor people and, war which would result permanent damage to its Nile flow and which will be futile at the end of the day, better for Egypt to tilt towards political solution-Win-Win.


by: Lee from: Norfolk
May 30, 2013 7:30 PM
The diversion of water is only around the construction area, but the water will still flow to Egypt. It's a very common procedure with dam construction. Either Egyptian officials are unaware of the facts or they are deliberately twisting them.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid