Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel rejected Egypt’s request it mediate Ethiopia dam talks, media reports

July 19, 2021 at 9:12 am

A general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on 26 December, 2019 [EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel rejected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s request to mediate with Ethiopia over its Renaissance Dam, Israeli Maariv newspaper reported.

Jacky Hugi added that although every now and then someone in Egypt claims that Israel is secretly mediating between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the dam issue, this is a tactic used by opposition groups to show that Al-Sisi collaborates with Israel.

According to the Israeli columnist, Egypt requested Israel mediate two years ago, but Tel Aviv rejected the proposal because the success of such efforts is low, and Ethiopia and Egypt will blame the mediator for the failure.

“Since the inception of Israeli diplomacy, it has not had the ambition to solve the others’ problems. It is not a question of capabilities, but rather of political culture, because Israel did not view itself as a regional power, and if that is the case, then only militarily, not diplomatically,” he added.

READ: Sisi must step down over Ethiopia dam crisis, ex-editor of Al-Ahram says

 Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan it says will provide the country with much-needed electricity and economic regeneration. Egypt believes it will restrict its access to Nile waters.

Egypt is almost entirely dependent on Nile water, receiving around 55.5 million cubic metres a year from the river, and believes that filling the dam will affect the water it needs for drinking, agriculture, and electricity.

Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn’t and issued a statement to this effect.

There is also an unresolved issue over how fast the dam will be filled, with Egypt fearing if it is filled too quickly, it could affect the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam.

Earlier this month, Ethiopia informed downstream countries Egypt and Sudan that it had started the second phase of filling the dam’s reservoir in an effort to take advantage of the rainy season. Egypt responded saying: “Addis Ababa is violating international laws and norms, and is treating the River Nile as its own property.”

Ethiopia renews commitment to AU mediation in dam talks - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Ethiopia renews commitment to AU mediation in dam talks – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]