An article published by the American Bloomberg website predicted that the failure of the Renaissance Dam negotiations between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand, and Ethiopia on the other hand, would lead to the outbreak of a cold war between the Nile Basin countries. The article written by Egyptian academic Amr Adly – an assistant professor at the American University in Cairo – confirms that the failure of the negotiation path between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt portends badly to the stability and security of Northeast Africa and turns the Blue Nile Basin into a scene of a cold war with the possibility of a continuous hot war.
According to the author, the failure to reach an agreement between the three countries on the Renaissance Dam prompted Egypt – for the first time in decades – to redirect its military attention to the south, as the Egyptian and Sudanese armed forces carried out a series of joint war games, and the Egyptians also provided assistance to the Sudanese army in the wake of the conflict over Fashaqa disputed area between Sudan and Ethiopia.
On March 30, 2021, the leader of the coup, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, declared that Egypt’s share of the waters of the Blue Nile was a “red line,” adding that any reduction would “affect the stability of the entire region.” Adly indicated that it is not difficult to imagine what instability would look like. It is represented by massive military investments by all parties, diplomatic confrontations in multilateral forums, and support for separatist groups and rebel movements. Adly believes that this is a situation that none of the three countries can afford, all of which are poor and densely populated, and yet it does not seem that they will soon reach an agreement. Adly believes that the three countries will have to return to the negotiating table, but that will only happen under constant international pressure, especially from the United States and the European Union, which have commercial influence and aid with the three countries.
According to the article, although the African Union played the role of honest mediator in recent talks, US mediation was closer to achieving a breakthrough in 2020, and when Ethiopia objected, the Trump administration suspended aid to Addis Ababa, and lost interest in seeking a solution to the conflict.
The writer notes that President Biden, since taking office, has shown little interest in the issue of the Renaissance Dam, and instead focused on the situation in Tigray, as Senator Chris Koons was sent to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last March; Let’s say Washington’s “severe concerns” about the humanitarian crisis resulting from the civil war, but it is not as it seems, as the meeting was to press for concessions on the dam project. According to Adly. The writer concluded his article that this may change, as the US State Department announced the appointment of a special envoy to the Horn of Africa, in order to address the political crises in the region, including the dispute over the Renaissance Dam, a necessary decision that reflects the renewal of American interest in the issue and comes at the appropriate time.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Al-Taher Abu Hajjah, the media advisor to the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, said that the water war is coming, in a more horrific manner if the international community does not intervene. Abu Hajjah added – in statements published on a Sudanese army website and confirmed in contact with Al Jazeera – that there is no strong reason for creating enemies more than depriving water. He explained that Ethiopia’s stances, its rejection of all options put forward to solve the problem of the Renaissance Dam, and its rejection of all mediation clearly reveal its implicit intention of non-cooperation. Abu Hajjah warned of the behavior of the Ethiopian regime, which is represented in the repeated attacks on its neighbors, and its rejection of all international proposals in a manner that might isolate it internationally and regionally.
The Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation announced that it will start seizing about 600 million cubic meters of water in the Jabal Awlia Reservoir on the White Nile River (south of the capital, Khartoum). The ministry added that reserving this quantity of water comes in anticipation of the possibility that Ethiopia will fill the second filling of the Renaissance Dam unilaterally next July. She explained that she worked to change the reservoir operating policy this year in preparation for the expected impacts of the Grand Renaissance Dam.
In the context, both Sudan and Egypt rejected the Ethiopian offer to exchange information on the second filling of the Renaissance Dam after the Kinshasa talks ended without consensus, amid Sudanese warnings of a “terrible” water war. And Sudanese Foreign Minister Maryam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said – in a post on Facebook – that Ethiopia had offered to inform Sudan and Egypt of the details of the second filling of the Renaissance Dam in July and August.
For its part, the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation said that the nomination of Ethiopia as representatives to exchange information without concluding an agreement means lowering the ceiling for negotiations on the Renaissance Dam, and stressed that the Ethiopian offer must be from a binding legal agreement. The Sudanese ministry added – in a statement on Saturday – that Sudan considers that exchanging information is a necessary measure, but the Ethiopian offer to exchange information in the manner indicated by the message entails suspicious selectivity in dealing with what has been agreed upon.
As for the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation, it rejected the Ethiopian proposal, and said that its acceptance would be considered an endorsement of the second mobilization of the Renaissance Dam. The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a tweet Saturday that “Ethiopia calls on Sudan and Egypt to nominate dam operators to exchange data before filling the Grand Prix dam in the next rainy season.” This was confirmed by the Ethiopian Minister of Irrigation, Seleshi Bagli, who indicated the steady progress in building the dam and the proximity of the rainy season in Ethiopia, stressing the need to work together on important practical arrangements. The Ethiopian minister added – in a letter to his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts – that the appointment of the operators will accelerate the appropriate arrangements for information exchange and confidence-building measures between the three parties.
Egypt and Sudan proposed including the European Union, the United States and the United Nations as mediators, in addition to the current role of the African Union in facilitating the talks. The two countries said that Ethiopia rejected the proposal during the Kinshasa meeting, which resulted in nothing.
Source: بوابة الحرية والعدالة by fj-p.com.
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