Diplomatic Implications of Diverting the Flow of Nile River by Ethiopia


By Habtamu Alebachew

Bye, Bye Perceptions and Zero-Sum Games, Welcome Reasons and Dialogues!!

Ethiopia announced its successful diversion in the flow of Abay River (not in the course of the river as some media people wrongly use the term without considering its implications to international principles and diplomacy)1 at the Renaissance Dam before two days. This news induced varied feelings among the audience particularly in Ethiopia and Egypt, the two historical protagonists on the River. Ethiopian officials used the event to reassure the world that the act by no means intends to affect adversely Egyptian interests both in theory and in practice.

Despite this, some Egyptian officials expressed policy statements swinging between the traditional Sadat’s era lines of thought and traces of a civilized approach to the matter. The impression of the Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia before two days, for instance, sounded logical at first where he said: ‘once Ethiopia began materializing its plan of the Renaissance Dam, Egypt has to cope with the reality’. He, however, swerved on the morrow into a second thought in which he added the statement, ‘so far as the diversion does not affect Egyptian interest’. On the other hand, President Morsi preferred a sober view and position of things where he moderately said he was confident that Ethiopians by the Renaissance Dam never do things that will harm Egypt. Next to this the Egyptian Minister for Water and Energy tended to reiterate still the ‘only if’ formula of his water diplomacy, like the second thought of the ambassador, adding that his ‘country never allows a drop of water to go in a manner that will cause grievances among Egyptian farmers’.

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Diplomatic Implications of Diverting the Flow of Abay Nile River by Ethiopia