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Egypt could use Suez Canal to retaliate against Ethiopia dam move: Sabbahi
Opposition figure Hamdeen Sabbahi says Egypt could block Suez Canal to ships from countries that help Ethiopia build controversial dam on Blue Nile
Ahram Online , Thursday 30 May 2013
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Sabbahi
Egyptian opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi (Photo: AP)

Egypt could close the Suez Canal to ships from countries that help Ethiopia build a controversial dam on the Blue Nile in the event that the dam threatens Egypt's supply of Nile water, Egyptian Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabbahi said Wednesday.

"The state is capable of holding talks with the countries financing Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam project, especially China and Italy," Sabbahi said.

He went on to assert that Egypt was capable of prohibiting ships from those countries from transiting the Suez Canal "until they stop harming Egypt's interests."

He also said that Ethiopia's decision to go ahead with the project – only days after President Mohamed Morsi's state visit to the country – was "extremely humiliating to Egyptians."

In comments reported by Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Sabbahi also called on Egyptians to support the government in its dispute with Ethiopia over the dam.

On Tuesday, Ethiopia began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its 'Renaissance Dam' project for electricity production, a move that raised concerns in Egypt and Sudan that the flow of water could be disrupted.

A final report on the impact of the planned dam by a joint committee of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian representatives is expected within days.

"We will not accept any pressure when it comes to our water supply," Sabbahi said. "Solutions must be presented to avoid conflict."

If Ethiopia continues with projects that harm Egypt, the nation will unite to deter an attack on its interests, he added.

Sabbahi said that while he fully supports Ethiopia's right to increase its energy production, Egypt would not accept any reductions in its annual water supply.

If matters escalate, he said, a drop of water would exceed a drop of blood in value. The best way to avoid conflict is to open new initiatives for strategic cooperation in the Nile Basin, he added.

During the 21st African Union summit, President Morsi said Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam had vowed to consider Egypt's interests regarding the dam.

Egypt's ambassador in Addis Ababa, Mohamed Idris, said Ethiopia's intention to divert the Blue Nile had been known since November 2012.

According to the state-run National Planning Institute, Egypt will require an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050 – on top of its current annual quota of 55 billion metres – to meet the needs of a projected population of some 150 million.

Correction: Ahram Online had earlier quoted Sabbahi as saying that Egypt was capable of barring Ethiopian ships from crossing the Suez Canal. This is incorrect. Rather, he said that ships from those countries that financed the dam project could be prohibited from transiting the canal.



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Tewolde K
14-06-2013 03:22pm
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Flooish idea of Sabbahi
Sabbahi'S comment on Close Suez Canal is foolish idea. Is that the same important with water Nile follow? Rather be rational to negotiate with your upper stream countries. I Think you are still under colony.Now be free and develop a fare negotiation. Your says regarding the reply to construct the dam is totally irrelevant. Ethiopia has the capacity to build its own dam. This is not the only dam. Ethiopia construct the last few years other dams and shall continuous to do so. Who can stop not to develop Ethiopia. Please Note that every citizen contributes to this dam and will continue up to final.
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50



Solomon
02-06-2013 11:27pm
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Pathetic comment from Mr. Sabbahi
It's amazing to read such poor comment from respected public figure. Mr. Sabbahi learn first about the geography of Ethiopia. Do not try to make cheap politics out of Nile. I personally contributed 10% of my 2 year salary for success of the dam. If Ethiopia wants to humiliate Egypt[like Sabbahi thoughts]it can simply divert two of the Nile main tributaries [e.g., Fincha and Jemma rivers] within weeks and reduce 70-80% of its volume. Unlike Egypt politicians, we Ethiopians are always positive towards Egypt due to our religious and geographical proximity. As to me if Egypt start to invest some dollars on Nile, and try to develop many of its tributaries in Ethiopia the river volume will increase and it can benefit a lot. Bullying is not a solution!
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49



Wise
01-06-2013 07:44pm
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Not unexpected of Egypt
Mr. Sabbahi, Ethiopians knew that Egypt will take the same old stance of "all the nile water is mine, I don't care about you, though the water comes from your country; don't ever touch it." The time for such a selfish position is over. The water will be shared among the Nile basin countries with out regard to how much you need it. If there will be a shortage of water in Egypt because the othercountries will start to use it, then there your are, it's up to you to fill the gap in whatsoever way. There is no such a thing as my need is over your need. If the Nile water is an issue of life, simply it an issue of life to other too. Not really hard to understand!
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48



Haile A.
01-06-2013 12:46am
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Deny transit to all vessels owned by nations who support Ethiopia
Dear Mr. Hamdeen Sabbahi: As a leader of the main opposition party, I expected an amicable solution to Egypt and Ethiopia from your side. Unfortunately, you started threatening, war-mongering. It is a pity to hear, from you, for the record.
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47



Ahmed M Ibrahim
31-05-2013 07:16pm
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The art of making enemies
The art of making new enemies does not suit Egypt because Egypt is the heart and soul of Africa, whether it is 21st century or 21st BC. The majesty of ancient temples and the splendour of the ancient palaces does not confine itself to the Pharaonic era. It filters down to the modern period through the medieval Islamic era. No doubt Ethiopia is dear to moslems around the world for having offered refuge to Islam's first migrants but crude partisanism does not suit Ethiopia either. It has every right to its share in the Nile waters but strangulating Egypt for its growing water needs does not help either the spirit of human brotherhood or pan Africanism. Ethiopia can build dams for electrification but precious water should flow downstream without any hindrance. In the meanwhile work on the Jingloai canal should be resumed with full earnest, so that water wasted in marshes is put to better use. At any cost the misuse of Suez Canal should be avoided at all costs.
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Dagmay Seid
03-06-2013 09:32am
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We have atleast Equal Rigth to USE the Water
It should be noted from Egyptian side that when the Nile Basin countries use their share of the Nile water, it is clear that the amount of water Egyptians currently Receiving will definitely be reduced. This is the fact that the Egyptians are the only country selfishly utilize the water over centuries against the interest of other neighboring Friends in Africa. In such situation, when Basin countries are developed their strategies and claim their rights over the Nile, Egyptians are talking about ‘Blood’…it is upto them to decide. Otherwise, we have at least as equal right as Egyptians to Use the water from Nile. It is really amazing that Egyptians are considering themselves as Kings of the Basin countries who are mandated to allow them to use the water from the Nile.
Lee
03-06-2013 06:42am
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Typical
Again, the supremacist mentality is on full display. You try to invoke romantic images of Egypt's past, but curiously you say nothing of the invalid and unjust and obsolete Nile water agreements of 1929 and 1959. Furthermore you are trying to create a moral equivalency between Ethiopia's actions and Egypt's actions. By bringing up the irrelevant points about Egypt's Pharaonic and medieval Islamic era are you implying that Ethiopia's should feel obliged that they can use their own water or that somehow they should feel like they are less than Egyptians? Partisanism is all Egypt is about lately? Have seen the news? Egyptians are killing each other in the streets and you're teaching Ethiopia about partisanism? Plus you are presenting false arguments about the dam, suggesting it's going to be used for large scale irrigation in Ethiopia rather than electricity. Egypt is not helping pan-Africanism at all, not by it's arrogance, and dare I say, racism and superiority complex it's impo
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Berhanu
31-05-2013 01:34pm
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Importnat lesson for Ethiopians
Sabbahi said'... a drop of water would exceed a drop of blood in value' That lesson Mr.Sabbahi works both ways; we now know the value of our water, and would protect it at any cost. Will Egyptians ever learn that Ethiopians have a right to use their water, their God given resources within her territory?!
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45



niri
31-05-2013 01:28pm
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about nile
All Egyptian think about what happen to Ethiopian in the past 40 years and by whom this happen.other wise Ethiopia can deduct the river up to 75% what have Egypt now. finally Nile will be History Like pherhos
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44



Edo
31-05-2013 01:16pm
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The fact and Egyptians with old thoughts
The present objective of Ethiopia is to make the Abay River hit a turbine and generate electric energy on its way. There is no intention of either stopping the flow of water or harming the Egyptian people. When it comes to the rhetoric comments of Hamdeen Sabbahi, we can also say much and nothing can stop us from utilizing our resources, just like Egypt wants to show its ownership on Suez Canal.
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43



woyesa wordofa
31-05-2013 12:16pm
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May God Bring Peace
May God bring peace on these countries concerning this dam;may Almighty God bring an agreement in peace!
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42



wonde
31-05-2013 11:27am
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dont make hasty decisions
think clearly, to start war or intimidating ethiopia can trigger unwanted result, ethiopia is no more a country to be bullied by egypt despite very few enemies within. peaceful negotiations will benefit all, it is devilish to think war with ethiopia while eating and drinking from ethiopia. ethiopia even though it have many options it strives and cares for egyptian people first understand what hydro electric generation mean the generators want water to turn the turbines then the water is back on course not a drop of water is spent in power generation you can visit generating stations anywhere in the world
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