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US ambassador in Ethiopia summoned over Trump remarks on exploding Nile dam

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Ethiopia has summoned the US ambassador to Addis Ababa over comments by President Donald Trump about exploding the Nile dam, calling the remarks “incitement of war” between Ethiopia and Egypt.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew summoned Ambassador Mike Raynor on Saturday “to seek clarifications on the remarks Trump made regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It added that Trump’s controversial comments were “during his telephone conversation with” the prime ministers of Sudan and the Israeli regime.

For the past decade or so, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have been in talks to secure an agreement on unresolved issues related to the potential impact of the $4.6-billion GERD on their water security.

Ethiopia insists the project is vital for its electrification and development needs and has expressed optimism regarding the commencement of the GERD operations early next year.

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Egypt, which depends on the Nile for some 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water, fears that the filling of the dam will eventually trigger a water shortage crisis in the event of a prolonged drought.

Sudan, Ethiopia’s northern neighbor, is also concerned about the potential consequences of GERD’s construction on its own dams, as well as the safety of its population and farmland from flooding that could result from faults in the construction or operation of the dam.

“The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting US president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in International Law governing interstate relations,” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry further said.

On Friday, Trump suggested that the dam be exploded while announcing a normalization deal between the Israeli regime and Sudan’s cash-strapped and military-led transitional government.

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They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something,” said Trump, who is a close ally of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Last month, the US State Department even said it was suspending aid to Ethiopia due to its decision to begin filling the GERD without reaching a deal with the downstream nations.

Earlier on Saturday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office in a statement defended the GERD project, warning that Addis Ababa would not “cave in to aggressions of any kind” following Trump’s threatening remarks.

It further emphasized that Ethiopia was working to resolve longstanding issues over the project with Sudan and Egypt.

“Nonetheless, occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound. These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law,” it further read, without explicitly mentioning Trump’s name.

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The construction of the 147-meter-high, 1.8-kilometer-long project is expected to be completed by 2023.

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