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Plural News and Analysis on Ethiopia and HOA

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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

In Switch, Egypt May Join Ethiopia In Nile Dam Project

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 22, 2013

At a news conference Oct. 7, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced that his country welcomes the participation of Egypt and Sudan in the construction of the dam and stressed that his government considers the dam to be jointly owned by Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. Cairo viewed his statement as a positive step toward reaching a consensus on the project, despite its earlier sharp criticism of it.

In a telephone conversation Oct. 17, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib told Al-Monitor: “Egypt doesn’t mind joining the Ethiopian government in building the dam for the service and development of the Ethiopian people. But we must agree on a number of items in a clear way to prevent any damage to Egypt as a result of the dam construction. The Egyptian government always opts for cooperation and participation. … During the coming negotiations with Ethiopia over the dam, we will clarify our position regarding the policy and method of operating the dam, the size of the storage lake attached to it, and how to fill it with water in times of flood and drought.” He stressed, “Egypt will definitely not participate in the construction unless these policies are agreed upon and agreements regarding them are signed.”

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

BBC|Egypt condemns US decision to suspend military aid

Posted by Ethio Tribune on October 10, 2013

An Egyptian military tank is deployed in the northern Sinai town of Al-Arish (file photo) The US said the withholding of aid to Egypt was not intended to be permanent

Egypt has criticised a decision by the US to suspend a large part of the $1.3bn (£810m) in aid it receives.

Foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said the decision was wrong and Egypt would “not surrender to American pressure and is continuing on its path towards democracy”.

The US announced on Wednesday it was suspending the delivery of large-scale military systems and withholding cash assistance to the Egyptian government.

It follows months of political turmoil.

Since the Egyptian army ousted Mohammed Morsi as president in July, the authorities have clashed repeatedly with his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.


    Egypt’s foreign military backers

  • The US: In addition to providing $1.3bn (£810m) it has also trained many senior Egyptian officers in America
  • The EU: According to 2011 official EU figures, Europe annually sells about $405m (£254m) worth of weapons to Egypt
  • France, Spain and Germany are reported to be the main EU donors
  • Other key military donors are believed to be Brazil, Russia and China
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have all provided cash to Egypt – estimated to be $12bn this year alone – but it is not clear how much of this – if any – was military assistance


The US state department launched a review of its aid to Egypt in August after a crackdown that left hundreds of people dead.

On Wednesday, it said it would halt the delivery of Apache helicopters, as well as Harpoon missiles and tank parts.

Washington would also halt a $260m cash transfer and a $300m loan guarantee, officials said.

The freeze was not intended to be permanent, the state department added.

“We will continue to hold the delivery of certain large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the government pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The BBC’s Kim Ghattas in Washington says the suspension of aid is more symbolic than a painful cut in essential aid.

The announcement had been expected, with deliveries of military hardware already halted, a military exercise cancelled, and cash aid in effect on hold since the summer, our correspondent says.

The US will continue to provide health and education assistance, and money to help Egypt to ensure security in the increasingly volatile Sinai peninsula.

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‘Horrible’: Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 16, 2013

Kafr Hakim, Egypt (CNN) — For 67 years, the Virgin Mary Church has been a peaceful refuge for Shenouda El Sayeh, much like the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim where it rests and where he has lived all those years. But, as he swept its floors on Thursday, it was painfully obvious things had changed.

The night before, a mob — chanting against Coptic Christians such as El Sayeh and calling for Egypt to become an “Islamic state” — had torched and looted the Virgin Mary Church.
“I didn’t expect this to happen,” El Sayeh said.

He’s not alone. Christians all around Egypt are cleaning up in the aftermath of a spate of attacks, which came on the country’s deadliest day since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches were attacked in a 24-hour span that started Wednesday, as well as numerous Christians’ homes and businesses.

Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Posted by Ethio Tribune on July 11, 2013

Ethiopia Continues Dam Construction(VOA)

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia and Egypt have been in a diplomatic dispute for weeks over the construction of what will be Africa’s largest hydro-electric dam – impacting the waters of the Nile River. But with Egypt facing political turmoil at home, attention has also been diverted from this controversial project.

The massive construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam continues despite sometimes angry protests from Egypt.

At issue is – diverting part of the Blue Nile since May.

The recently ousted Egyptian government feared the diversion would impact the Nile River flow – on which it is heavily dependent.

All of this will be a reservoir with 74 billion cubic meters of Nile waters.  Ethiopia said it will gradually fill the reservoir in the coming years, leaving Egypt questioning how the reservoir can be filled without affecting the water flow, especially during periods of drought.

Simegnew Bekele, one of the dam’s project managers, said better water management by both Egypt and Ethiopia will be the key. “The water will flow through these culverts permanently. That culverts will be part of the dam, which will be embedded, which will have gates and during any low flow the water will pass through the culverts because it will be installed at the normal riverbed level. We cannot change the normal riverbed level,” he explained.

Ethiopia is proceeding with construction even as environmental experts and diplomats continue to work out Nile River resource management among affected countries.

The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will make Ethiopia Africa’s biggest power exporter in the next four years – producing 6000 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The dam will be 1708 meters long, 145 meters high and will be equipped with two powerhouses.  Potential buyers of the electricity include Somalia, Uganda and even possibly Egypt.

The dam will be competed in 2017 at a cost of close to $5 billion.

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Obama tells Morsi to respond to demonstrators

Posted by Ethio Tribune on July 2, 2013

US President Barack Obama called embattled Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to convey concerns about mass protests against Mursi’s regime and urged him to respond to issues raised by the demonstrators, the White House confirmed on Tuesday.

The US president “told President Morsi that the United States is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party or group,” the White House said.

“President Obama encouraged President Morsi to take steps to show that he is responsive to their concerns, and underscored that the current crisis can only be resolved through a political process,” it said in a statement.


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Four Egyptian ministers resign amid unrest

Posted by Ethio Tribune on July 1, 2013

Four Egyptian ministers have tendered their resignations from President Mohamed Morsi’s cabinet, a senior official has said, as protests against his rule filled the streets of cities throughout the country.

Earlier on Monday, the state news agency, MENA, said  the ministers were considering resigning in sympathy with the protesters who have been calling for the ouster of Morsi.

The four were the tourism minister, Hisham Zaazou; communication and IT minister Atef Helmi; the minister for legal and parliamentary affairs, Hatem Bagato; and environment minister Khaled Abdel-Aal.

They handed in their letters of resignation together to Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, the official said.

The resignations come as protesters began a second day of demonstrations against Morsi’s government which completed one year in office on Sunday.

In the capital, Cairo, the official building of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood to which Morsi belongs, was set ablaze before people stormed and looted the building, an AFP correspondent there said.

People were seen leaving with petrol bombs, helmets, flak jackets, furniture, televisions and documents.

Some preparing for rallies on Monday spent the night in dozens of tents pitched at Cairo’s central Tahrir Square and the palace, positions organisers say they will hold until Morsi resigns.

In fewer numbers, supporters of the Egyptian president came out on Sunday to show their support and defend what they called the president’s “legitimacy”.

As anger against Morsi swept the streets, at least six people were killed and more than 600 wounded in clashes between the pro and anti-Morsi groups, the Reuters news agency reported.

The main opposition Tamarod – Arabic for rebellion – movement, which led the demonstrations, gave Morsi a deadline of Tuesday to quit, threatening a campaign of civil disobedience if he stays.

Has Morsi borrowed Hosni Mubarak’s playbook?

The number of people who joined in protests on Sunday was between 14m and 17m people, the interior ministry told Al Jazeera.

“It is absolutely fair to say that an unprecedented number of Egyptians went to the streets accross the country,” said Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Cairo.

She added that a statement from Morsi during the protests was not welcomed by many, as it did not offer anything new.

In the message released on Sunday, he said: “I believe we can come together and find a way that builds our country,” and he could “engage in national dialogue.”

In its statement, Tamarod urged “state institutions including the army, the police and the judiciary to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds.”

The group also rejected presidential calls for dialogue, saying: “There is no way to accept any halfway measures.”

A few kilometres away from the presidential palace, thousands of Morsi supporters also staged their own sit-in to show support for their president.

Morsi announced to all of Egypt’s people he made mistakes and that he is in the process of fixing these mistakes

– Omar Amer, presidential spokesman ,

Presidential spokesman Omar Amer said Morsi was serious in his repeated calls for national dialogue.

“[Morsi] announced to all of Egypt’s people he made mistakes and that he is in the process of fixing these mistakes,” Amer told a late-night news conference.

The duelling rallies on Sunday only further highlighted the deepening political polarisation in Egypt.

Morsi supporters are full of praise for his first year in office, insisting that the president has strengthened civilian rule in Egypt and done his best to manage a failing economy.

Anti-government protesters’ main complaint was the worsening economy, which has been in free-fall since Morsi took office, with the Egyptian pound losing nearly 20 percent of its value and industry crippled by fuel and electricity shortages.

“He’s borrowed money from everyone in the world,” said Said Ahmed, referring to $11bn in loans Egypt has received from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to prop up the economy. “Who’s going to pay for that? Our children.”

Al Jazeera

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Egypt protesters storm Muslim Brotherhood headquarters

Posted by Ethio Tribune on July 1, 2013

Protesters outside the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo on 1 July 2013No-one was inside the Muslim Brotherhood building when it was overrun

Anti-government protesters in Egypt have stormed the national headquarters of President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in the capital, Cairo.

People are reported to have ransacked the building in the eastern Moqattam district and also set it on fire.

Eight people have been killed outside since Sunday, security sources say.

Earlier, the opposition movement behind the protests that saw millions take to the streets across Egypt on Sunday gave Mr Morsi until Tuesday to resign.

Tamarod (Rebel) said Mr Morsi would face a campaign of civil disobedience if he did not leave power and allow elections to be held.

Protesters across Egypt have accused the president of failing to tackle economic and security problems since being elected a year ago. His supporters have insisted he needs more time.>>>read more

Staff evacuated

Millions of people attended demonstrations across the country on Sunday to demand Mr Morsi step down.

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Egypt risks lonely walk on the Nile

Posted by Ethio Tribune on June 25, 2013

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy President Museveni seemed to throw diplomacy to the wind when during the budget reading on June 13 he referred to attempts by the government of Egypt to stop the building of a mega hydro power dam on the Nile as chauvinistic.
But he is not alone. Many observers say that it is not only Egypt’s position on the use of the Nile waters which is untenable. They now also disapprove of the way the North African country has responded to the fallout from comments made by different Egyptian political leaders during a “national dialogue” about the Nile.
Egypt’s foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Kamel Amr, rushed to Ethiopia to cool the tempers and at the end of his visit last Tuesday, the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying: ““Some pronouncements were made in the heat of the moment because of emotions. They are behind us.”
Tempers had flared before, with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy being quoted as saying although they did not favour war over the dam issue, they would keep “all options open”.
During an inclusive meeting of Egyptian politicians to discuss Ethiopia’s use of the Nile waters to build a dam that was aired live on television without the participants’ knowledge, suggestions ranging from brooding disharmony inside Ethiopia to destroying the dam were made.
Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam, projected to cost $4.7b with an installed capacity of 6,000MW of electricity, will be the largest power plant in Africa. But Egypt fears the dam could reduce the Nile’s water flow, affecting the country’s over 80m people, the vast majority of whom live in the Nile valley, getting virtually all their water from the river>>>read more

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Egypt Should Welcome not Threaten Ethiopia’s Nile Dam

Posted by Ethio Tribune on June 24, 2013

Ethiopia is building a giant hydropower dam on the Nile. The project, however, makes Egypt unhappy, as its water supply could be threatened. Though both countries could find ways to benefit from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, neither has displayed exemplary conflict-management skills.

In Egypt, politicians meeting with President Mohamed Mursi suggested subverting Ethiopia’s government and destroying the dam. On live TV. Later, Mursi pledged to “defend each drop of the Nile with our blood.”

For its part, Ethiopia, home to the main sources of the Nile, has been steadfast in ignoring the understandable concerns of Egypt, a desert country that depends on the river for 95 percent of its water. When Ethiopia began construction of the biggest hydropower facility in Africa, it did so without consulting Egypt.

Neither country is well-positioned to get its way. Egypt’s revolution has weakened its government and left the country without a superpower patron. Gone are the days when it could dictate its dominance over the Nile, which it bases on colonial-era agreements that upstream countries have long dismissed…click here to read full story

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Sudan & South Sudan diplomats voice support to Ethiopia dam

Posted by Ethio Tribune on June 24, 2013

une 23, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – Diplomats from Sudan and South Sudan have expressed their support for Ethiopia’s controversial Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river just 30km from the Sudanese border.

The diplomats made the remarks after a group of Ambassadors from member states of the Nile Basin Initiative over the weekend paid a visit to the construction site of the controversial Ethiopian power plant.

After Ethiopia diverted the flow of the Blue Nile as part of a procedure to build the massive $4.8 billion hydro-electric dam, serious concerns have been raised from Egypt, who has veto rights over all upstream projects under a colonial era treaty.

In recent weeks Cairo and Addis Ababa have engaged in a fierce verbal confrontation.

However the foreign ministers of the two countries earlier this week met in Addis Ababa to cool tensions, with the two sides agreeing to start further negotiations and consultations, along with Sudan, at political and technical levels.

After Saturday’s visit to the construction site, the Sudanese ambassador reiterated his country’s full support to the project, emphasising that countries in the region will benefit from the electricity produced by the dam.

Sudan has accepted the final findings by the international panel of experts which has studied the impact of the dam for downstream countries and has affirmed to send experts and technicians to help the construction…click here to read the full story

Posted in News & Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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