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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Egyptian diplomats left red-faced after Nile dam meeting broadcast live

Political and religious figures attending the meeting called for by President Morsi suggested sabotage and political interference as solutions to the dam crisis

Dina Ezzat , Tuesday 4 Jun 2013
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Egypt presidency, opposition figures discuss Ethiopia dam 'crisis' (Photo: President Morsi's official Facebook page)
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“The trouble was not that the meeting was broadcast on air but rather that some of the participants decided to assume the role of ‘James Bond’ and spoke accordingly, rather than offering a cohesive political proposal on how to move forward with a crisis as crucial as that of a potential cut of Egypt’s share of the river Nile,” commented Amr Hamzawy, political scientist and leader of the Free Egypt party.

Hamzawy was responding to questions from Ahram Online on a meeting hosted by President Mohamed Morsi yesterday, which brought together a wide range of political figures to discuss the Ethiopian construction of a mega dam over the Blue Nile.

On Monday, President Morsi called a meeting to discuss the new dam project, which hit headlines in Egypt last week after part of the Blue Nile was diverted in Ethiopia in preparation for the dam’s construction.

The tributary of the Nile provides Egypt with over 80 per cent of its annual 55.5 billion cubic metres a year of Nile water.

The meeting, which was broadcast live on Egyptian television, was full of what some Cairo-based African diplomats described as a condescending Egyptian reflection on Africa. Some suggestions heard from participants included sabotaging the dam, interfering in internal political disputes in Ethiopia, or bribing local tribes, with the aim of prohibiting any potential reduction in Egypt’s annual share of the Nile waters.

Confronted with public furor over their public statements, some of the participants chose to suggest that they were unaware that the meeting was being broadcast live. Some suggested that they were told only that edited excerpts would be aired later in the course of official news coverage.

On her Twitter official account, presidential advisor Pakinam Sharqawi offered “apologies for any unintentional inconvenience for any of the participants who were erroneously un-informed that the meeting was put on air.”

Hamzawy said that he was “well aware, of course, that the meeting was being broadcast.”

“I had made it clear that my participation was conditional on having the meeting on air, to avoid having any inaccurate leaks about the positions offered at the meeting.”

According to Hamzawy, the crucial thing now is to formulate a working group that should address the key political concerns “through a serious and composed political plan of action away from the unsolicited rhetoric that could only further complicate an already complex situation.”

The task of the proposed group is perhaps even tougher today, according to diplomatic and intelligence sources who share “grave concerns” over some of the “unbelievable and outright ridiculous statements” that were made during the controversial meeting.

“This meeting has caused a huge harm to our case – both politically and legally,” said a senior government official.

“Up until that meeting we were in a very strong position as a country that suffers from serious water poverty and is being faced with a unilateral decision of an upstream state to further cut at its legally stipulated share of water; today we are the country that is openly masterminding political unrest and maybe even a military offensive against neighbouring states; this could have some serious legal and political ramifications.”

Egyptian diplomats in Addis Ababa and Khartoum have faced a particular struggle, trying to preempt the anger by offering reassurances to the respective host governments that the unfortunate views offered at the controversial meeting were not adopted by the president, who was simply listening to the participants.

“I could not believe myself when I was following the meeting; I called Cairo to inquire about the purpose behind airing such a discussion but was offered no good excuse. It is very unfortunate; we should have acted wisely rather than to put ourselves on the weaker side of the equation,” said an Egyptian diplomat in Addis Abeba.

The invitation to attend the meeting was declined by many political figures, including some of the leadership of opposition coalition the National Salvation Front. Some leaders of the group sent written proposals to the president’s office in place of attending.

Hamazawy, however, chose to take part in the meeting “out of a realisation that this goes beyond our internal political disagreements to a very serious national interest matter.” 

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Abraham Demeke Habteyesus
09-06-2013 10:17pm
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ADH
An important point raised at the meeting chaired by Mr. Morsi is the portrayal of the construction of Renaissance Dam as the Israeli-American plot to undermine Egypt. I am not trying to argue over this claim, however want to ask a question. Why on earth these politicians want Ethiopia to be their enemy when it is extending invitation for cooperation? I can only call it arrogance and ignorance, which both dominated the sentiment in the meeting room. More astonishing was the laughter that followed after it was announced that the meeting was being aired live. I am sure both America and Israel have heard you what came out of your mouths. Obviously, Ethiopia never relied on anyone except her creator and her own sons and daughters. As an individual I urge you to not create an enemy out of one trying to live in peace and mutual cooperation with you. The choices are yours only.
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Mesfin
05-06-2013 05:39pm
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Let's Breath together
Dear Our sisters and brothers in Egypt Let's us breath together. The Old politics is expired, Now you should listen our silence and patience. let's dink and breath together
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Hayat Adem
05-06-2013 10:14am
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What is wrong with you, fellow Egyptians
I'm not Egyptian, nor Ethiopian. I'm Eritrea. It amazes me the sons/daughters of the old civilization can go as far as such none nonsensical plots and utterances against their neighbors. What happened to you? How do you plan to harm a country and society that has been giving you water since time immemorial? What the Ethiopians are saying is that they are building a dam, on their soil, with their own resources for electricity. What is wrong with that? Only irrigation takes a share of water flow away. Even that wouldn't have been illogical if they wanted to it. Because they have a right to use a resource within their territory responsibly. But now that is not even the case. The water will flow in the same total amount or maybe more at a regulated pace with less risk of exposure to siltation and evaporation. If I were you, fellow Egyptians, I would go exceptional extra miles to tighten my relationship with the Ethiopians because nobody else matters as much as the Ethiopians when it comes to Nile, the source of life for Egypt. I would never mess, gamble or game with such a life-death factor even in the most sophisticated way let alone in a mindless public utterances. The Ethiopians show far more maturity in inviting you to the assessment panel, and inviting you to co-own the Dam itself. It seems they should reconsider whether you deserve such offer of generosity from their side.
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Ketema
04-06-2013 09:33pm
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Egypt's Perverse Logic On-air
Egypt always prefers military option, destabilization and such unnecessary measures against Ethiopia than cooperation for equitable use. This is just a hydro power project with no water consumption. What kind of irrational logic drives all the noise? Are these politicians thinking in their brain or just with nerves? Egypt's security apparatus has been always busy sabotaging against Ethiopia for the last fifty years. In the distant past, there were 27-failed attempts to annex Ethiopia the last one of which lead it to bankruptcy and subsequent annexation of Egypt by the British. How can Ethiopians and the rest of Africa trust you while you are busy sabotaging in the 21st century? Certainly, there is no other proof than this TV show in portraying Egypt's hitherto Perverse logic. It is shameful. It really is shameful!
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Mehari
04-06-2013 09:25pm
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The forged Africans
We all Africans know that Egyptians are forged Africans. On the contrary, all Africans know that the true African countries are all the countries except this country with wicked and dull politicians. What we really have seen and heard is really a murder mystery on Africa. All Africans were celebrating with the motto I am the African union and I am African to develop Africa as a continent but the bullshit and mindless Egyptians were playing these rubbish game never seen in the world. Shame on you, you heartless politicians! Shame on you forever! I have no child this time but i will pass this to my grand children that you are the enemy of Ethiopia to the extent you have expressed to the world! The world is shame. I do always pray to see strong AFRICA without nonsense Egyptians.
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Addis
04-06-2013 07:56pm
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One cannot apologize for what one is:
This only goes to show the immense arrogance on the side of the Egyptians; behving like high school boys, really. Of course, we Ethiopians can only look at you and just scoff. You should understand that we may not mutilate our own sisters and daughters in the name of honor like you people do; but we are not afraid to defend our national pride. Pay attention to our history before you embarrass yourselves. We would rather devote our resources to lift our people out of poverty, and not waste it in any war; but when you people leave us with no other options, you should know that we have a little bit of experience making war.
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sibagadis
04-06-2013 07:22pm
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the true egypt
People around the world have realized now. But this was what the egyptians authirities try to use or used to weaken Ethiopia. But believe me Ethiopia is not waiting for you empty handed.
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Ethio-Habesha
04-06-2013 07:17pm
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shame
We Ethiopians knew dictators of Egypt distabilze our countries for many year by supporting rebels and terrorist. But after 20 years our strong government control every enemies in four direction of our country. So don't be though Ethiopia is weak. We saw most of Egypt politician though and did for a centuries in your own TV. Anyways we Ethiopians are not selfish, we want this dam for our development and to divorce poverty. unless you think a win win solution nothing can stop our development. God bless Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Abogida
04-06-2013 07:01pm
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There we go!
What a humiliation for Egypt, it seems the country already failed before the game started. In the first place the issue of sabotaging or destabilizing Ethiopia was not a news we already knew it. But what surprises me at most is those the so-called ministers are not aware of that they are already on air. Thanks GOD, that the world now can see what is right, millions of peoples were misleading so far, now that is the truth u guys just announced the real agenda of Egypt with respect to Nile, Ethiopia and and the whole black african people. What an embarrassment as a state , as president ohh my... . But one thing what ever u guys are agreed, we ethiopian are never ever let be down for outsides read history. Shintam arab hula!
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Araya
04-06-2013 06:28pm
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Dam CANNOT affect Egypt's water share
We have to understand that ones the dam is full, the water keeps flowing. How can Egypt's share be reduced after all? Ethiopia cannot consume all the water. Remember also that it is a tributary and not the only source of the Nile.
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