Anger in Ethiopia after Eritrea supports Egypt’s “right” to Nile water

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Ethiopia angry over Eritrea support for Egypt’s water claims.

By Mohammed Awad /

ADDIS ABABA: Anger is fomenting in Ethiopia following last month’s statements from the Eritrean government over who has a right to Nile River water, which has become a contentious issue in recent years between Ethiopia and Egypt, who claims the lion’s share of water from the world’s largest waterway.
The Eritrean government said in April that it supported Egypt’s position over a controversial colonial-era treaty that grants Egypt a right a majority of the Nile’s water resources.

The Red Sea nation expressed its support in a message sent from the Eritrean president and delivered to Egypt’s president by Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs, Yemane Gebreab.

The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has highly welcomed Eritrea’s position towards Egypt’s “historic rights” over the sharing of the water of the Nile River.

Morsi said that he looks forward to meeting his Eritrean counterpart.

Here in Ethiopia, government officials told that the issue has led to increased tensions between the two neighbors, which have fought wars over territory.

“This is just not right and we demand the Eritrean government issue an apology and deliver what is Ethiopia’s to Ethiopia. The Nile River cannot be an issue that leads to violence,” a water official said, hinting that war over water in the region is on the rise.

The dam project has seen widespread concerns from Egypt and Sudan, who have echoed the Saudi official’s sentiments over the project, which they see as an infringement on their historical rights to Nile water.

The dam could threaten the regional stability after the Egyptian government said it remained “concerned” over Ethiopia’s actions along the Nile River.

The anger comes as Ethiopia and Eritrea both attempt to mend relations strained over the years.

Ethiopian government officials this week reaffirmed their commitment to have peace discussions with longtime foe and neighbor Eritrea with the aim of ending decades of tension along the border that has seen war and strife.

During his meeting with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the Ethiopian Minister of foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom accused the Eritrean government of refusing to engage in peace talks.

Adhanom said his country is ready to sit down for direct negotiations with Eritrea without any preconditions regarding to level, time or venue.

But the Ethiopian top diplomat stressed “the belligerent party opposed to these talks has always been the Eritrean side”.

According to the ministry of foreign Affairs, Tedros expressed solidarity with the people of Eritrea whom he said are continuously suffering due the regime’s “brutality and obstinacy to peace”.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war in 1998-2000 that has killed an estimated 70,000 people.

The two East African adversaries remain at loggerheads since the disputed key town of Badme had been awarded to Eritrea by an international border commission.

Government officials here in the Ethiopia capital told that they are “confident” that the situation will finally be resolved.

One foreign ministry spokesperson, who was not authorized to speak with the media, said that they hoped “the ongoing discussions between government officials would lead to a finality of the situation and help to build and mend the broken ties between the two countries.”

It is still unclear where the people fall in the ongoing negotiations, with many telling that they believe the time is now to end the tension along the border and start to build new economic relations.



  1. Shabia and Tigre liberation front were TRAINED AND SUPPORTED BY Egypt until they marched to Addis abeba and Asmara in the early 1990s. Egypt has continued to arm and encourage shabia to get involved in somalia and support ethnic liberation fronts in Ethiopia. Tigre liberation front is now in a dillemma as one of its former supporters and nanny Egypt continues to dine with shabia. it is not a good news for Tigre liberation front.

  2. Why are you angry about Eritrea for not supporting the hydro dam project ? You should be ashamed to see those useless Ethiopians residing here in America opposing the hydro project in the name of political opposition, the tragedy is the majority those Ethiopians who is opposing the project came from the same tribe (Amhara tribe)/former power monopolized. The Amharas know shame they do and say to grasp power, the sad thing these amaras had the chance to do better for the last 90 years but the Amharas failed incorrigible and made Ethiopia the poorest of poorest.

  3. I am always ready to support any power that comes against woyanne since this ethnocentric regime is very opportunist and will do nothing good to our country Ethiopia.The saying “the lesser of the two evils” for me goes in a different way. Woyanne is more evil than Shabia and Egypt. I know the two countries are historical enemies to the people of Ethiopia. But woyanne is the most evil by contrast.

  4. We amaras were buch of zeros we always talk talk talk for 30 years no action, woyane will rule us forever. Woyane a and oromos already enjoying the palace Dayin and day out.

  5. @Amare, you are not Amhara, uwhy donot u be confident enough to express urself. Amhara cannot bomb Ethiopia to find TPLF, so it takes time to separately attach. Ayegebah yehager fikir lante.

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