Egypt ‘war’ talk raises Ethiopia Nile dam stakes
By Tom Perry and Alastair Macdonald
Reuters (CAIRO) – Egypt does not want war with Ethiopia but will keep “all options open”, President Mohamed Mursi said on Monday, turning up the heat in a dispute over a giant dam Addis Ababa is building across the Nile.
In a televised speech to cheering Islamist supporters, Mursi voiced understanding for the development needs of poorer nations upstream in the Nile basin, but rammed home in emotive language that Egyptians will not accept any reduction in the flow of the river on which their civilization has been based for millennia.
Bellicose rhetoric, including talk of military action by Egyptian politicians last week, had raised concerns of a “water war” between Africa’s second and third most populous states.
But Mursi, for whom the dispute provides an opportunity to rally Egyptians behind him after a divisive first year in power, also appeared to leave room for compromise.
He did not renew an Egyptian call – flatly rejected by Ethiopia last week – for work to stop at the dam but said further study on its impact was needed.
Describing Ethiopia as a “friendly state”, he said Cairo was pursuing all political and diplomatic avenues for a solution. Read More