A former presidential candidate in Egypt has called on the government to prepare for a “just war” against Ethiopia, following the failure of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, it has been reported.
In a statement on Facebook, Hamdeen Sabahi called for “an urgent plan to prepare the people and society for war, and ensure national unity.” The threat, he said, is that Egypt’s share of water from the River Nile may be cut off by the dam.
Unity, he said, can be consolidated between the people, the army, and the opposition through the immediate release of prisoners of conscience. “This will heal internal wounds to face the external threat.”
Sabahi pointed out that after ten years of failure to negotiate, there are fewer than 80 days left to “save Egypt” before the second filling of the Renaissance Dam reservoir. “It is an existential threat for Egypt, the people, and the state. Victory is the only option; there is no alternative.”
He used his post to set out his vision for the way forward to confront the crisis head-on. “The path will start with an announcement by the government that there will be no further negotiations unless Ethiopia stops all construction work on the dam.” All of the commitments “burdening” Egypt, he suggested, should be revoked by the House of Representatives in Cairo.
“Then Egypt must bring the matter to the attention of the UN Security Council and General Assembly in order to hold the international community accountable for the possible genocide of Egyptians and their country, and the subsequent threat to international peace and security.”
The 1902 Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty should remain the basis of Egypt’s historic legal standing as a partner in the management of the River Nile and its water, insisted Sabahi. “The Egyptian people must retain their share of water from the Nile, set at a minimum of the 55.5 billion cubic metres as confirmed by the treaty, as well as their country’s fair share of the common development projects along the river basin.”
With this in mind, he concluded, the partnership of Egypt and Sudan in the permanent management of the Renaissance Dam is “natural” and “cannot be waived”. That, he concluded, also means determining the time frame for filling the reservoirs and the dam’s mode of operation.