Ethiopia’s prime minister warns of war with Egypt over dam project

5 mins read

By MEE and agencies

Abiy Ahmed says his country could mobilise ‘millions of people’ to fight but negotiations are a better solution

Ahmed, left, said on Tuesday that ‘no force could stop Ethiopia from building a dam’ (AFP)

Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister Abiy Ahmed said on Tuesday that his country is capable of mobilising millions to fight Egypt over a disputed dam project, but that talks are the best means of resolving the conflict.

‘If some could fire a missile, others could use bombs. But that’s not in the best interest of all of us’

– Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

The 43-year-old – Africa’s youngest leader – delivered his remarks in his first parliamentary question-and-answer session since winning the Nobel Prize on 11 October for his peacemaking efforts with neighbouring Eritrea.

“Some say things about use of force [by Egypt]. It should be underlined that no force could stop Ethiopia from building a dam,” Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“If there is a need to go to war, we could get millions readied. If some could fire a missile, others could use bombs. But that’s not in the best interest of all of us.”

Later on Tuesday, Egypt said it had accepted a US invitation to a meeting of foreign ministers over the project.

The meeting of foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, the three nations directly affected by the project, will be held in Washington, Egypt’s foreign ministry said, without stating a date or if the other nations had agreed.

“Egypt has received an invitation from the US administration,” the ministry said in a statement, adding, “an invitation that Egypt immediately accepted”.

Egyptian foreign ministry officials said earlier this week that Cairo would soon push Ethiopia to agree to an external mediator to help resolve a deadlock over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being built on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is due to meet Ahmed during a Russian-African summit in Sochi on Wednesday.

Egypt sees the $4bn dam as an existential risk, fearing it will threaten its scarce water supplies and power generation at its own dam in Aswan.

After years of three-way talks with Ethiopia and Sudan, Cairo says it has exhausted efforts to reach a pact on conditions for operating the dam and filling the reservoir behind.

Ethiopia says the dam is crucial to its economic development and has denied that the talks between the three are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.

At loggerheads

For years, Egypt has viewed the Nile as its own, saying it has “historic rights” to the river, guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959. The country and its population of 100 million rely on the river for 90 percent of their freshwater.

Egypt building secret tunnels to take water out of country, says Mohamed Ali

Officials have said they want the dam’s reservoir to release a higher volume of water than Ethiopia is willing to guarantee, among other disagreements.

At one stage, Egyptian politicians talked of bombing the dam in order to preserve what they viewed as their historical right to the river’s waters, MEE has reported.

Ethiopia has defended its right to build the dam, now around 70 percent complete, with the declared aim of providing electricity for its 100 million people.

Egypt is faced with worsening water scarcity and says it is already working to reduce the amount it uses in agriculture.

Scarcity now

Hydrologists consider a country to be facing water scarcity if supplies drop below 1,000 cubic metres per person per year.

Egypt currently has around 570 cubic metres per person per year, a figure that is expected to drop to 500 cubic metres by 2025, without taking into account any reduction in supply caused by GERD, Egyptian officials said.

Egypt may experience freshwater and energy shortages by 2025 amid the Nile reductions, the UN predicts.

Recent proposals put forward by Egypt for a flexible reservoir-filling process and a guaranteed annual flow of 40 billion cubic metres were rejected by Ethiopia, which is expected to start filling the dam’s reservoir next year.



  1. January the 15th 2020 is when Sudan , Egypt and Ethiopia are expected to reach an agreement by the international community.All three signed saying they will reach an agreement by January the 15th 2020.
    After Abiy threatened Egypt to send one million ground troops to Egypt next Abiy Ahmed sent a shopping list of more than $4 Billions USD dollars asking to buy advanced Airforce weapons from France.France said no to the request Ethiopia made because Egypt ordered France to say no per France’s President.
    Gedu Andargachew told Mr Trump at the white House in DC that he won’t say the details of who murdered Simegnew Bekele due to the complexity of the level of corruptions.
    Ethiopian government is currently secretly talking with Assad of Syria about possible military and economical help the two countries can extend to each other since both countries face similar type of challenges such as hunger , displacements , war , terrorism , diseases and so on.

  2. Egypt does not have to deploy troops against Ethiopia to secure its interests. It has always used internal forces such as the TPLF and others to do so. The TPLF will work with Egypt for the sake of its own survival because its leaders are being squeezed both from the North and South. So prime minister Abiy Ahmed is aware of this internal challenges despite his rhetoric of direct military confrontation with Egypt. So if the prime minister really means business with Dam issue he has to first neutralize the TPLF and other internal forces Egypt uses to destabilize Ethiopia.

  3. Why the Ethiopia people cannot used Nile sorce on thier land,if the Egypt people used for thier development aswan ornile.

  4. War is destructive and not the answer. Please come to mutual agreement in resolving this matter peacefully.

  5. -In the past two years Ethiopian Christians get persecuted because of their religion more than anyother country in the world.

    -In the past two years Muslim Ethiopians had been forced to provide their children to terrorists activities re than any country in the world.

    -In the past two years Solomonic dynasty Ethiopians are getting persecuted with their entire history being rewritten painting all their ancestors as the most evils .

    -In the past two years Jewish people in Ethiopia are getting persecuted more than anywhereelse in the world.

    -In the past two years Ethiopia had been the best terrorists incubator in the world.

    -In the past two years Ethiopia had been going in a path towards civil war and experienced genocide with more internally displaced refugees than any continent in the world.

    -In the past two years Ethiopian law enforcement apparatus committed 10000
    times more violent crimes than the ordinary people with 329 banks getting robbed by them.

    Good for nothing , Abiy Ahmed Ali along with his team Lemma OPDO ODP must be removed from power by any means necessary, for the sake of all peace loving human beings.
    Ethiopians had been cheated by them for two years.

  6. Gedeon

    you are very smart. You are devising tactics after tactics to defame TPLF. YOu are eaten up by jealousy. I am very sad for you. It can eventually kill you. Moron. Idiot. Calm down.

    I will boycott all people like you and organize others to do so. I will not buy anything from you and pêople like yoU.

    Satanic and your church is full of evilmen disguising themselves mahibrekidusan , pristes and debtras . all are superstitious and adherents of satan reciting book of satan and money making incantaction.

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