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A Critical Juncture in Ethiopian-Egyptian Relations

In what can only be interpreted as a blatant act of defiance, Ethiopia launched the second filling of the Renaissance Dam, ignoring international law and turning its back on a diplomatic solution that could end its dispute with both Egypt and Sudan. The second filling took place without any warning or coordination with the downstream countries. According to several experts, the waters diverted for the sake of the filling project could already lead to severe drought in Egypt. So, as it seems, Ethiopia started a real war: an unjustified and blatant assault on the well-established historical rights of Egypt and Sudan to the Nile waters. In carrying out the second filling, Ethiopia overturned the agreement signed between the three countries in 2015, which requires full coordination between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on any filling and operation of the dam. And since this move completely violates the agreement, the Ethiopian move must be viewed as nothing more than an act of piracy. Today, Ethiopia revealed its ugly face, and dropped the fake masks behind which its leaders have been hiding. Ethiopia’s euphemisms and empty promises have been exposed. Just think of the words of Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, who only recently swore to the Egyptian people that his country would never harm or undermine Egypt’s access to the Nile waters. The Nile is an existential matter for Egypt. The Egyptian government and people will not accept Ethiopia’s robbery of the Nile waters, which threatens Egypt’s very existence. The Nile has been the source of life in Egypt for over 7,000 years. Ethiopia is mistaken if it believes that the patience of the Egyptian people can be interpreted as weakness. If it persists in its mistake of setting facts on the ground for Egypt, then it will be met with an unequivocal and harsh response. We are nearing our D-Day. Egypt has red lines. It has capabilities to defend its water security and national interests. And it won’t be afraid to do so. – Ali Mahmoud (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)