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This list included 12 fighter jets (including Rafale and Mirage 2000), 18 helicopters, two military transport planes manufactured by Airbus, 10 Dassault Drones, electronic jamming systems, and about thirty M51 missiles with a range of more than 6,000 kilometres capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The weekly French political and news magazine Le Point recently revealed a document containing a list of requests by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the Elysee Palace, including Rafale fighter jets, helicopters, and nuclear missiles.

On 22 July 2019, Ahmed sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron asking France to help strengthen the Ethiopian air force by providing a sophisticated arsenal of weapons.

This list included 12 fighter jets (including Rafale and Mirage 2000), 18 helicopters, two military transport planes manufactured by Airbus, 10 Dassault Drones, electronic jamming systems, and about thirty M51 missiles with a range of more than 6,000 kilometres capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The newspaper pointed out that Ahmed’s request for nuclear warheads is illegal, especially since France and Ethiopia signed the non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Last October, the Ethiopian prime minister said, “If war is needed with Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), we are ready to mobilise millions of people, but it is negotiations that can resolve the current stalemate.”

Since 2012, Addis Ababa has been carrying out the GERD’s construction on the Blue Nile, which, according to experts, will lead to water shortages in Sudan and Egypt, which are crossed by the river.

The $5m dam, which is considered the largest in Africa, has completed 70% of its construction. The dam is expected to give Ethiopia much-needed electricity.

Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam will damage its limited share of the Nile’s water, estimated at 55.5 billion cubic meters, which 90% of it is needed for drinking, agriculture, and industry.

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  1. Where in the letter did the PM asked for the M51 missile with the nuclear warhead? The missile can be a multi purpose weapon system. I see the letter with the inclusion of the long range missile intended to send a message. If the PM really wants to procure nuclear missiles then it shows he has lost his mind. He has lost it, gone mad and should be sent to an asylum. He must explain this request just because it is going to send a shockwave and unsettle the nerves in the region. The fragile political environment that exists now in the old country should be the priority to tackle and nuclear laced armed race would be the death warrant for every species of the region. I urge the local reporters to ask the PM for clarification of his missile shopping list at the next press conference.

  2. A response to Ittu Aba Farda.

    Having read your concern about the purchase of military hardware by the Ethiopian government, I truly share your concern as well. However arming oneself with such weapons wouldn’t force you to having an all out war with those who try to hurt you. Instead it would-give you the sense of security you needed incase war breaks out between you and your opponent. The procurement of those military weapons will be used as a deterrent factor against your enemy who try to throw his/her weights around, also contemplating to launch a surprise attack on Ethiopia any time in the future. Having a political squabble in the family does not mean that you have to keep your guards down, by failing to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia from forces who want to put you in harms way.

    Armed with nuclear weapons might lead to nuclear annihilations as you stated, but on the other hand it will make one think twice before unleashing its nuclear terror against those who don’t posses nuclear weapons. Therefore the acquisition of sophisticated nuclear weapons is a blessing, and not a curse for the peaceful coexistence with your counterparts. At a time when forces hostile to Ethiopia are steadily showing their disapproval about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction on the Nile River, the acquisition of such sophisticated military hard ware by the Ethiopian government should be encouraged,and not to be discouraged. Ethiopia has every right to use its water supply to the fullest potential for the best interest of Ethiopia, the same way others who use their oil supplies for their country’s best interest. Whether what is mentioned in the newspaper about the procurement of those military weapons were true or not, it remains to be seen in the near future.

  3. “Ethiopia asked France to acquire Rafale, nuclear missiles” French Newspaper – is that to fend of Egyptian attack? Or does the government plan to battle the invasion of our country by the Chinese? To a reasoning mind the articles is full of holes. No nation with nuclear missile capabilities will hand over such an armament to a third world country. Second, to acquire Rafael fighter jets is not an easy task. You will need to train pilots, mechanics and the necessary logistic on the ground as well as ground to air communications.
    If the worry is from Egypt, you do not need any force to deter its perceived invasion. If an attack happens by the Egyptians, you simply divert our rivers and let them come and fight us within our boundaries. Egypt can’t dictate Ethiopia anymore. As the late PM Meles Zenawi said ” a “Win Win” solution is the only way forward. If Egypt wants to use its colonial treaty and Arab influence, let them try. One thing is clear. Time is not on their side anymore. Ethiopia has full right to use its rivers and lakes as they wish with minimum impact to the environment and its near and far neighbors. The rest is for the birds!

  4. ashagre,

    The old country does not need a nuclear weapon as a deterrent. I just look at the course of the Blue Nile on the Google map and the distance it travels within the old country itself I found that so astonishing. I thought it begins at Lake Tana and then head west on a short trip to The Sudan. But that is not the case. It must be hundreds of miles the river zigzags with in the country before it turns west. That is even more deterrent than a nuclear warhead. You know, some times and for some reasons rivers just suddenly change their mind. Boom! Just like that!!! Rivers suddenly change their ordinary course!!!! You know what I mean?!!

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