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Tuesday February 23, 2021

The Renaissance Dam crisis returns to the fore!

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This is to take the necessary measures diplomatically or militarily to prevent Ethiopia from taking this step, which would pose an existential threat to the two countries.

All diplomatic mediation and solutions, whether those presented by the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the African Union, have failed because of the Ethiopian rejection.

It turns out that the current government of Abi Ahmed is betting on gaining time, and rejects any concession on its part that preserves the water rights of the Egyptian and Sudanese sides, and considers sovereignty over the dam a red line, and affirms that it will move forward in the second phase, whether with or without agreement.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Mufti, a former member of the Sudanese delegation participating in the Renaissance Dam negotiations, confirmed that the lands on which the dam was built belonged to Sudan.

In an interview with a TV station two days ago, he said that his country granted the lands on which the dam was built to Ethiopia according to the agreement demarcating the borders between the two countries in 1902, provided that Ethiopia did not establish any dams on the Blue Nile in this area without the consent of Khartoum.

Ethiopia did not abide by this agreement, and went ahead with the construction of the dam and filling its reservoir with water in three stages, according to the timetable established by the order that would threaten 20 million people, that is, half of Sudan’s population of famine, according to Dr. Al-Mufti, in addition to more than five million Egyptian families. Reducing the amount of electricity generated by the High Dam by more than 50 percent, and there are boundless environmental and economic problems.

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It is clear that the African Union is looking calmly at this escalating dispute, and it does not put any pressure on Ethiopia to cooperate and reduce tension, and there are those accusing the Union in Egypt of colluding with the Ethiopian regime, and this explains the failure of all rounds of negotiations sponsored by the Union in the presence of the representatives of the three countries.

The Egyptian government remains silent and forbids any incitement in the Egyptian media to resort to the use of force as a last resort. However, Egyptian sources close to the decision-making department in Cairo assured us in Today’s opinion that this silence does not mean the absence of specific military scenarios and contingency plans. Resorting to it if all peaceful solutions have failed, and this possibility is the most likely.

The Renaissance Dam is not more than 25 km from the Sudanese borders, meaning that it is within range of artillery, not to mention modern missiles, and if both Sudan and Egypt resorted to a military solution, the possibilities of destruction are very great, if the decision is taken by the political leadership in the two countries.

Joe Biden’s administration is not very friendly to the Egyptian leadership, which it considers an ally of President Trump’s administration, and has a file full of human rights violations, and that is why it decided to freeze the US sanctions imposed by the previous administration on the Ethiopian government for evading the signing of an agreement reached in the Washington negotiations under its auspices (i.e. Trump administration) and the International Monetary Fund.

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More importantly, the Biden administration, if it continues to impose these sanctions, will be due to human rights violations in Tigray region by the Ethiopian regime, and not because of its intransigent stance towards peaceful solutions to solve the Renaissance Dam crisis.

Israel is the one behind this obstinacy, and it is inciting President Abiy Ahmed to reject peaceful solutions, and is behind the installation of modern missile batteries that protect the dam, because it does not want stability for Egypt and Sudan together.

The most important development is the recent retreat of the Sudanese regime from its “centrist” or rather supportive of Ethiopia’s positions in the dam crisis, and its solid conviction that Ethiopia’s filling of the dam’s reservoir with about 74 billion cubic meters of water will destroy the Sudanese Rasras dam, and “starve” 20 million citizens, Most, if not all, of Sudan’s other water projects are undermined.

The flexibility of the Egyptian leadership in the Libyan file in the recent period, its openness to the Tripoli government, and the reopening of its embassy there are all steps that came within the framework of preparations for the largest crisis called the Renaissance Dam that has returned to the fore strongly in the recent period in the absence of peaceful negotiating options.

The fact that Egypt and Sudan stand on a united front against Ethiopian intransigence will be a decisive development in any upcoming war. We do not exclude in this newspaper “Today’s Opinion” very important developments and military alliances in the coming weeks in this regard, and we only have to wait … and God knows best.

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