Cairo condemns what it calls an “attack on the Egyptian state” and accuses Addis Ababa of using an “aggressive tone”.
Egypt’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Ethiopia’s top diplomat to Cairo for comments from an Addis Ababa official regarding a controversial Nile dam.
The Egyptian ministry “summoned the Ethiopian charge d’affaires in Cairo to explain the comments of the spokesperson for the Ethiopian foreign ministry concerning Egyptian internal affairs,” he said on Wednesday evening.
The statement did not cite specific comments but followed a statement by the Ethiopian official on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Africa’s largest hydropower project, which raised fears of vital water supplies downstream in Egypt and in Sudan.
“They know that the GERD will not hurt them, it is a diversion of internal problems,” said Tuesday Dina Mufti, spokesperson for the Ethiopian ministry and former ambassador to Egypt.
Mufti argued that without this “distraction” Egypt and Sudan would “have to deal with a lot of local problems waiting to explode, especially up there.” [in Egypt]”.
In a new statement on Thursday, the Egyptian ministry condemned what it called an “attack on the Egyptian state” and accused Addis Ababa of using an “aggressive tone … to hide Ethiopia’s multiple failures in his country and abroad ”.
“It would have been better for the spokesperson to pay attention to the deterioration of the situation in his country, which is experiencing multiple conflicts and humanitarian crises which have killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of innocent civilians,” he said. -he declares.
On November 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the military to confront the ruling party in the dissident region of northern Tigray, where fighting has reportedly left thousands dead.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been in talks since 2011, but have failed to reach an agreement on filling the dam. Negotiations have been stalled since August.
The Nile, the longest river in the world at 6,000 km (3,700 miles), is a lifeline for the water and electricity supply of 10 countries.
Ethiopia considers the dam essential for its growing energy needs and insists that downstream water flow will not be affected.
The dam is at the center of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s largest exporter of electricity.
The structure is about 15 km (nine miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile – a tributary of the Nile, which gives 100 million people in Egypt about 90% of their fresh water.
Egypt opposes Ethiopia’s unilateral measures and, with Sudan, has called for a legally binding political solution to the dispute.