Amid a continued impasse over a controversial Ethiopian dam on the Blue Nile, Egypt has signed a defense cooperation agreement with Kenya – the fourth defense agreement with East African nations this year and the second with a nation on Ethiopia’s borders.
On Wednesday, an Egyptian military delegation to Nairobi signed a Technical Agreement on Defence Cooperation “aimed at deepening partnership in matters of mutual benefit,” the Kenyan Ministry of Defense announced.
In April, Egypt also signed a memorandum of understanding on intelligence sharing with Uganda and a defense cooperation agreement with Burundi.
The move comes as Sudan accused Ethiopia of beginning the second phase of filling the reservoir behind the huge Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. Sudan and Egypt, which sit downstream from the dam and are heavily dependent on the river for fresh water and irrigation, are afraid the dam could threaten their water supply and have attempted to stop its construction with diplomatic and legal pressure for years.
Addis Ababa says the 6,000-megawatt dam, being built with Chinese help, is necessary to alleviate its acute electricity shortages and that it is asserting its rights over water resources long governed by colonial-era agreements, when the British Empire ruled both Egypt and Sudan. When completed, it will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa and the seventh-largest in the…