Egyptian press highlights anger at Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam [BBC media monitoring]
[A reader of Danielberhane's blog paid the required fee to make the following text available for Ethiopian readers]
Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam is the main theme of Egyptian newspapers on 29 May.
Today’s dailies highlight the news of diverting the Blue Nile course to build the dam on their front pages, with some papers describing it as an act of war or a move that requires a military reaction. The story is also the main focus of today’s editorials and commentaries, which are divided between attacking Ethiopia for building the dam and blaming Egypt’s policies for this situation.
All of today’s checked papers cover news of Ethiopia’s diversion of the Blue Nile course to build the Renaissance Dam on their front pages. “Even the Nile has been lost; Ethiopia bids ‘Morsi’ farewell by diverting the Blue Nile’s course to build the ‘Renaissance Dam’,” reads the headline of the privately-owned daily Al-Watan.
“Diverting Blue Nile’s course sparks off a flood of Egyptian anger,” reads the headline of the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar.
Some papers, even, focused on the calls for taking military action against Ethiopia.
“Calls for a military action against Ethiopia increase,” reads the headline of the Islamist-oriented daily Al-Misriyun.
“As soon as Morsi’s visit ends, Ethiopia beats the drums of a water war against Egypt,” reads the headline of the privately-owned daily Al-Yawm al-Sabi.
Others stressed the difference between the public and official reaction to the news.
“Official belittling and experts’ exaggeration of the effects of diverting the Blue Nile’s course,” reads the headline of the state-owned daily Al-Ahram.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) Freedom and Justice Party, on the other hand, adopted the official stance to the effect of waiting until the experts’ committee’s report on the dam is issued.
“Today, the tripartite committee’s report to decide on the Renaissance Dam’s fate,” the paper’s headline reads.
The dam is also the main theme of today’s editorials and commentaries.
In its editorial, the state-owned daily Al-Ahram says: “The fact that Addis Ababa acted before the [experts' committee] report is announced and declared the diversion of the Blue Nile course means that Ethiopia does not count a lot on the tripartite committee’s opinion and will continue building [the dam].” “It is necessary to start taking a serious and strict action at the international level and to use all cards in our hands to protect our interests; the national security is facing a catastrophic threat so please wake up,” he says.
In the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar, Amany Durgham says: “It is Ethiopia’s right as a state to do what it wants in its natural resources; it is our bad luck that we are bearing the sour fruit of long years, in which Egypt forgot its African extension.” “The important thing now is that we return trust between Egypt and its southern neighbours and to adhere to our international right to the River Nile with all politeness,” she says.
In the privately-owned daily Al-Shuruq, Imad-al-Din Husayn says: “Normally, we should have many pressure cards to protect our rights.” “It is not logical that the card of threatening to intervene militarily becomes the first option,” he says. “The logical thing is to have major economic interests that convince any country in the Nile Basin that it will lose a lot if it made any project that harms Egypt,” he says. “In the issue of the Renaissance Dam, we need to have an internal agreement, a unified vision, negotiations and meetings with the Ethiopian side and the rest of the basin countries and to extend our hand for cooperation with the African brothers; when we use up all these solutions and our interests really get threatened, then we can think about the military solution,” he says.
In the privately-owned daily Al-Tahrir, the paper’s editor-in-chief Ibrahim Isa says: “Ethiopia gave the ruling system in Egypt a painful and humiliating slap.” “The response [of Egypt] is belittling and nonsense or exaggeration but no real, aware, quick and practical response,” he says.
In the privately-owned daily Al-Misri al-Yawm, Muhammad Salmawi says: “It is no longer a secret that the Renaissance Dam that exceeds Ethiopia’s financial and technical capabilities will be implemented via support from Israel and under US sponsorship.” “In addition to the great harm that will be done to Egypt by the Ethiopian dam, it is really regrettable that [one of] the founding state of the African unity, which was established by Egypt under Abd-al-Nassir’s rule with the aim of supporting the independence of the continent’s countries, comes after half a century to follow the orders of one of the world powers, i.e. the USA, and subdue to the influence of one of the small countries, which is Israel,” he says.