Seems certain Nile solution has evaded Ethiopian & Egyptian water ministers

12 Feb

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory

When Egypt’s Constitutional Committee Chairman Amr Moussa spoke to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper barely two weeks ago, Egypt Independent rightly saw in the person the power to predict things in the new and chaotic Egypt.

Amr Moussa in Egypt is someone to be listened to these days – for one good reason. He is thought to be an insider with the top ruling military circle. Therefore, the idea that he is well-looped and has a better sense of the future direction of Egypt is not without merit.

Accordingly, Amr Moussa’s first prediction was about Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s personal qualities, especially his possession of all the qualifications necessary to become the next president of Egypt with “the people’s confidence and support.”

By all indications, this is something that would come to pass, since Moussa’s predictions would be assisted by the lack of formidable challengers to Egypt’s top-ranking soldier for the post of president.

It appears that Mousa was benefitting from divine revelation and this Tuesday he also insisted that Field Marshal Sisi has decided (intends) to run to become president.

For the person who has survived the hectic processes of evolving yet another constitution for Egypt within a little over a year, Moussa has reason for entwining Egypt and Sisi’s future – for better days. He says, “The next president will start Egypt’s rebuilding with a clear political and economic plan so that the country can regain its status locally, regionally and internationally.”

The next thing on Moussa’s mind was the country’s suspension from its membership from the African Union (AU). Since there is nothing that even an old civilization such as Egypt could do to ameliorate its internal chaotic situation, the limitations of which he has accepted, he only expresses the hope for the AU to “reverse [its] decision.”

The good thing is it is not lost on Moussa that Egypt cannot step into the greatness its aspires “locally, regionally and internationally”, without sorting out the anomaly that has costed it its regional membership. His wise refrain, thus, was “Africa loses without Egypt and Egypt loses without Africa.”

The third preoccupation for this experienced and senior Egyptian figure is also the complicated relations between Ethiopia and Egypt. He is more relaxed and councils wisdom to prevail. In that sense, according to Egypt Independent, Moussa points out that the problem surrounding “the Renaissance Dam “requires strong and long-term diplomatic action that addresses the overall relations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and creates an atmosphere of goodwill.”

My mind was taken aback to both the contents of his words and the order of how they came. For instance, what is meant by Egypt regaining “its status locally, regionally and internationally”? The other task Moussa sees in co-opting the marshal is the rebuilding of Egypt to return to its greatness. He adds to this, the Nile issue requires “strong and long-term diplomatic action that addresses the overall relations …”

The trouble is, when a society’s internal cohesion is in crisis, as is the case in Egypt now, states often resort to searching an external enemy. Aggression may be an instinctive reaction due to internal frustrations or paucity of some sorts. However, a closer examination of history shows that not always have such measures proved capable of attaining planned objectives. On the contrary, they have proved costly, with ancient the Greeks with their costly victory over the Romans leaving behind legacy of the expression about the odious price of “pyrrhic victory” (from King Pyrrhus) – the exorbitantly costly Greek victory was likened to defeat.

Victory at any cost is not what our two oldest nations need today! I fear that already the tussle and the back and forth has taken immense energies from both sides. If Egypt gets one clear policy and guidance, whichever way, possibly both countries in their own self-interests might easily find an accommodation.

One problem today is that Egypt’s policy on the Ethiopian dam is all over the map, as much contributing to the impassé. Today it is “yes” and tomorrow “No”. This has forced consistency on the Ethiopian side, rather sign of their distrust of Egypt.

Perhaps the benefit of the two sides finding mutually agreeable, credible and impartial outside interlocutor(s) is something whose time has come.

*Updated.

 

2 Responses to “Seems certain Nile solution has evaded Ethiopian & Egyptian water ministers”

  1. Bruck Tadesse February 12, 2014 at 15:08 #

    “One problem today is that Egypt’s policy on the Ethiopian dam is all over the map, as much contributing to the impassé. Today it is “yes” and tomorrow “No”. This has forced consistency on the Ethiopian side, rather sign of their distrust of Egypt.”

    I just like the above statement. You just described what exactly i felt and fell reading all of the news coming from Egypt. the reason why i went to read the article that quick was my hope that you would, as always, disentangle for me what seems to be complicated signals coming from both side on this matter. You did not disappoint me. You flushed everything though the membrane of the above statement and it become clear to me. Your insight and instinct is sharp and i trust it, thank God for that and I will now settle to accept that things are complicated.
    One thing which lingers in mind most of the time about this dam and the erratic verbal conflict between the two is that there could be something that going on behind the curtain about which we do not know , may be there a deal between the 2 government on how to go about with this thing forward, but they are afraid to disclose it their respective citizens wouldn’t accept it. Could this be an orchestrated media stunts from both side to psychologically prepare the people in both countries to accept a DEAL. One of those wild speculations of mine.

    many thanks,

    Bruck T.

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