Egypt has accused Ethiopia of ‘‘warmongering’‘ Sunday in dispute over the latter’s plan to start filing a huge newly-built hydroelectric dam on the River Nile.
The Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry was responding to comments by his Ethiopian counterpart in an interview with the Associated Press Friday.
“We find it strange that in his recent comments with the Associated Press he might speak about desire for war or warmongering, which I believe is inappropriate and is not the right tone to use.
We have never used such language and will avoid issues of speculations, but certainly this is an issue that has a very severe consequence on the livelihoods and future and interests of Egypt, and we will do everything possible to preserve our interests, as would any state’‘, Shoukry said.
Cairo wants the UN security council to intervene, following failed negotiations to agree a deal on how the dam should be operated. Hanging over the dispute has been the fear it could escalate into military conflict.
“At this juncture we are depositing the issue with the security council with the desire that it undertakes its responsibilities. If the security council does not undertake its responsibilities, this is even a greater threat to international peace and security”, the Ethiopian foreign affairs minister said.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies, sees the issue as a potentially existential threat.
In Friday’s interview, Ethiopia said what the Egyptians were doing was disproportionate, “even for the sake of propaganda, let alone for going to war and conflict”.
Shoukry countered that Egypt had never threatened military action.