As Ethiopia Completes Dam Project, Could Its Neighbours Go to War Over Waters of the River Nile?


The river Nile is the longest river in the world – at least 4,000 miles long – but upstream it divides into the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The latter rises in the highlands of Ethiopia and Addis Ababa has enraged its neighbours with plans to dam the Blue Nile.

Egypt sent a letter to the UN Security Council at the weekend to restate its “complete rejection” of Ethiopia’s plans for filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Ethiopia began building the GERD, which would generate 6,000 megawatts of hydro-electric power, in 2011 and Egypt and Sudan, which are both downriver, have repeatedly complained that it would reduce the flow of the Nile.

Sudan fears it will affect its own hydro-electric dams, which are considerably smaller than the GERD, while Egypt is worried the project would further reduce the flow of water to the Nile Delta and other farming areas.  

Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and US President Joe Biden discussed the Nile dispute.

Biden told Sisi: “Washington fully understands the utmost importance of this issue for the Egyptian people”.

A few days later Egypt and Sudan conducted a joint military exercise, Guardians of the Nile, which aimed to improve teamwork between the two armies and was also seen as a deliberate attempt to intimidate Ethiopia.

Egypt is furious Ethiopia is refusing to recognise the 1959 Nile Waters agreement, which lays down how much water can be taken out of the mighty…

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