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Egyptian politicians caught in on-air Ethiopia dam gaffe – BBC

Egyptian politicians are embarrassed after being caught suggesting hostile acts against Ethiopia to stop it from building a dam across the Blue Nile. They were inadvertently heard on live TV proposing military action at a meeting

Egyptian politicians are embarrassed after being caught suggesting hostile acts against Ethiopia to stop it from building a dam across the Blue Nile.

They were inadvertently heard on live TV proposing military action at a meeting called by President Mohammed Morsi.

Ethiopia last week started diverting the flow of the river in preparation for the $4.2bn hydroelectric dam.

The Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the Nile.

On completion, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam would be Africa’s largest.

It is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts, and its reservoir is scheduled to start filling next year.


As the participants did not know that the meeting was being aired live by state TV, they spoke their minds unreservedly.

Their suggestions centred around military action as a decisive response to what one of them called a “declaration of war”.

One of the politicians suggested sending special forces to destroy the dam; another thought of jet fighters to scare the Ethiopians; and a third called for Egypt to support rebel groups fighting the government in Addis Ababa.

“This could yield results in the diplomatic arena,” liberal politician and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour told the gathering.

Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, the leader of the secular Reform and Development party, said the presidency should have warned the participants in advance that the meeting would be broadcast live.

“I am afraid most of the politicians who attended the meeting were not well informed about such a sensitive topic,” he told the BBC.

“But the statements made during the meeting do not represent the Egyptian official stance. It was just a chat between politicians who were angered by the Ethiopian plans.”

A presidential adviser apologised for failing to warn politicians.

“I am sorry for any unintentional embarrassment,” Bakinam al-Sharqawi said in a statement.

Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East and highly dependent on the water of the world’s longest river.

Ethiopia’s decision to construct the dam challenges a colonial-era agreement that had given Egypt and Sudan rights to the Nile water, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic metres and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic metres.

That agreement, first signed in 1929, took no account of the eight other nations along the 6,700km (4,160-mile) river and its basin.

Those countries have been agitating for a decade for a more equitable accord.

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  • ሚክ November 1, 2017

    NO Matter forever Our Grand Renaissance Dam is natural nuclear for enemy’s of downstream countries

    Ethiopia is the ancient state of Christian Island. This fact has been firmed today’s on east Africa by itself. From the binging to recent phenomena, she is the island of Christian and her paramount of leaders are from Christian never ever fall under Muslims. During 4 century she was powerful and leading the World. She was losing her power as flourished Muslims state from neighbors and invaded her territory. Among her enemy exist on the first line; all savage Arab countries as well as Egypt, Suddenness and Somalia were the top evil Muslims state. Those two countries tried redundancy to invade this Christian Island because all their life depended on the natural resources of Ethiopia. But they were defeated for many times by our hero ancestress.
    Especially, beside to incursions, Egypt has been great role in jeopardize this Christian island through religion father’s send and made society to laziness. Hereafter, Egypt is no longer the dominant force along the Nile and Africa content. Ethiopia is replacing it. The day has already coming soon. Once fill Our Grand Renaissance Dam reservoir behind the 66 km3, 74 bn cubic meters of water and a surface area of 1,680 km2 (650 sq mi) is completed no countries blame/cough/ about our country or dam.
    Because when the dam is fill up it is more than nuclear by itself. First of all, we would have changed the simple design of the dam to irrigation as well as back down water in the mother land and cooked our enemy through drought. On the second and merciless option, if Suddenness and Egyptians try to argue and raise any problem on Ethiopia we released the reservoir water from the dam and flooded throughout the Suddenness and Egyptians countries and forever disappeared Suddenness and Egyptians from this plant and we would have created the emptiness land.
    Without any option, they should have to pay per cubic of our water that used above 200 years. For these promises, all Ethiopians have ready to contributed above $6 billion and blood. We (christen island nation) have leave this agenda strategically until filled the reservoir. After that, we no need sophisticated armaments like missile and nuclear for Suddenness and Egyptians Muslims our Grand Renaissance Dam more than enough…
    ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላላም ትኑር!

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