Ethiopia slammed international pressure regarding its long-running dispute with Egypt and Sudan over a hydropower dam on the Nile River, after US President Donald Trump suggested Cairo could destroy the dam.
“Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind,” the office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement. “Ethiopia may be confronted with poverty but are rich with history, patriotic citizens whose commitment to defend their country’s sovereignty is unparalleled.”
The U.S. last month suspended aid to Ethiopia over its decision to fill the giant Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on a Nile River tributary before agreeing with Egypt and Sudan on how the reservoir will be managed. Though Abiy’s office didn’t direct the comments at anyone specifically, Trump on Friday said on a call with Sudan’s prime minister in front of reporters that the situation was perilous and that Egypt could blow up the dam.
Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry didn’t immediately respond to questions.
When asked how talks on the dam were progressing, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he hoped to reach an amicable solution soon. Trump said Ethiopia had broken a deal that he had brokered to resolve the issue.
It’s a “dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way and they’ll end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew summoned Mike Raynor, the US Ambassador to Addis Ababa, to clarify Trump’s remarks on the dam issue. He also said that such comments from a US President don’t reflect the longstanding partnership between Ethiopia and America, and that the African country is committed to trilateral negotiations.
The dam is expected to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity when completed, and Ethiopia hopes to sell the energy to neighboring countries and fuel its own industries with stable, cheap power. Egypt, which depends on the Nile River for most of its fresh-water needs, is opposed to any development it says will impact the flow downstream -- a position echoed by Sudan.