Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has voiced concerns about Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar new dam and its effect on the flow of the Nile River into Egypt.
At the end of May, Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile, to make way for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Once complete, the dam is expected to provide 6,000MW of power.
In a televised speech, Mursi said that “Egypt’s water security cannot be violated at all”.
He said Egypt was pursuing all political and diplomatic solutions with Ethiopia, but confirmed that “all options are open”.
At the end of May, members of the Egyptian government were accidently overheard during a live TV broadcast proposing potential military action over the dam.
This led to the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry issuing a statement saying the comments had been “unhelpful” and condemning the “disturbing propaganda” of some Egyptian politicians trying to encourage violence in relation to the diversion of the river.
In early June, Egypt Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr said diplomatic talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan would continue regarding studies into the impact of the dam construction on the volume and quality of water coming into Sudan and Egypt.
He stated that Egypt’s water security cannot be “overstepped or infringed”.
Some analysts say Mursi’s speeches about the dam are an attempt to unite the Egyptian population and distract from the current government’s economic and political failings.