Egypt has called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to restart talks on the $4.6bn hydroelectric dam being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan.
The move on Friday came as tensions run high after multiple rounds of talks over the years between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to produce a deal for the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?
Sudan says talks on Ethiopia’s Nile dam did not produce deal
Egypt: Ethiopia rejecting ‘fundamental issues’ on Nile dam
Addis Ababa has declared plans to start filling the dam next month, regardless of whether a deal was reached.
Cairo appealed to the UN Security Council “to intervene to emphasize the importance that three countries … continue negotiations in good faith,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Arab Republic of Egypt took this decision in light of the stalled negotiations that took place recently on the Renaissance Dam as a result of Ethiopian stances that are not positive,” the statement said.
The latest round of talks, which had started on June 9 through video conference, followed a previous round of negotiations in Washington, which ended without agreement in February. No date has been set for the stalled talks to resume.
The years-long dispute pits Ethiopia’s desire to become a major power exporter and development engine against Egypt’s concern that the dam will significantly curtail its water supply if filled too quickly.
Egypt, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its fresh-water supplies, sees the dam as a potentially existential threat. It is anxious to secure a legally binding deal that would guarantee minimum flows and a mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.
Sudan has long been caught between the competing interests.
In Ethiopia, the arrival of the rainy season is bringing more water to the Blue Nile, the main branch of the Nile, and Addis Ababa sees that as an ideal time to begin filling the dam’s reservoir next month.
“For us, it is not mandatory to reach an agreement before starting filling the dam, hence, we will commence the filling process in the coming rainy season,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew told The Associated Press news agency on Friday.
“We are working hard to reach a deal, but still we will go ahead with our schedule whatever the outcome is. If we have to wait for others’ blessing, then the dam may remain idle for years, which we won’t allow to happen,” he said.
Gedu rejected the idea that the issue should be taken to the UN Security Council, and would not say whether his country would use military action to defend the dam and its operations.
Both Egypt and Ethiopia have hinted at a willingness to take military steps to protect their interests, and experts fear a breakdown in talks could lead to conflict.
“This dam should have been a reason for cooperation and regional integration, not a cause for controversies and warmongering,” said Gedu. “Egyptians are exaggerating their propaganda on the dam issue and playing a political gamble. Some of them seem as if they are longing for a war to break out.”
The United States tried to broker a deal earlier this year, but Ethiopia did not attend the signing meeting and accused Donald Trump’s administration of siding with Egypt.
The latest talks saw officials from the US, European Union and South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union, attending as observers.
Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters after talks ended on Wednesday that the three counties’ irrigation leaders have agreed on “90 percent or 95 percent” of the technical issues but the dispute over the “legal points” in the deal remains dissolved.
The Sudanese minister said his country and Egypt rejected Ethiopia’s attempts to include articles on water sharing and old Nile treaties in the dam deal.
Egypt has received the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters under decades-old agreements dating back to the British colonial era. Eighty-five percent of the Nile’s waters originate in Ethiopia from the Blue Nile.
Joseph Siegle, director of research at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies based at the National Defense University, told Al Jazeera Egypt’s decision to seek UN Security Council help was part of a strategy to gain more concessions from Ethiopia.
“I think what Egypt is trying to do is raise the stakes and keep the pressure on Ethiopia in an attempt to try and exact as string a deal as it can from Ethiopia,” he said.
“All sides have a lot of pride and identity in this project. The Nile river is central to Egypt’s existence and its identity and its economy,” he continued, adding: “And Ethiopia has spent $4.6bn of its own resources to build this dam and its seen as a point of national pride, where it is going to be able to generate power for itself and for the entire region as a means of lifting the country out of poverty. They’ve gone through a very long process of raising funds from everyday citizens, and so, they have a lot invested in seeing this through.”
Trump calls on GOP to investigate new disclosures of FBI malfeasance
President Trump urged Republican lawmakers on Friday to investigate bombshell disclosures that the FBI relied on a suspected Russian spy to justify secret surveillance of his campaign in 2016 in search of evidence of collusion with Moscow. At a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, the president called out to Republican Sen. David Perdue and Kelly…
President Trump urged Republican lawmakers on Friday to investigate bombshell disclosures that the FBI relied on a suspected Russian spy to justify secret surveillance of his campaign in 2016 in search of evidence of collusion with Moscow.
At a campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, the president called out to Republican Sen. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and Rep. Doug Collins, who were in the audience, to get to work on the scandal.
“David, if you guys can start working on that when you get back,” the president called out with a smile. “Doug, please, if you don’t mind. Kelly, start working on that with David, please, okay? I think Monday morning would be okay.”
William Barnett, an FBI agent assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, said he believed there was a “get Trump” attitude among some people in the special counsel’s office and that prosecutors, rather than FBI investigators, pushed most of the decisions.
A summary of his comments was disclosed late Thursday in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn by the Justice Department as part of its request to have the case dismissed.
Other disclosures in text messages show that FBI and CIA personnel purchased personal liability insurance because they were worried about the implications of the agencies’ actions in the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign. And the so-called Steele dossier, on which the FBI based its suspicions of Russian collusion, included allegations from a suspected Russian spy, a fact never disclosed to the secret court that granted the surveillance warrants.
The president said the revelations show that the allegations of Russian collusion against him turned out to be “the exact opposite.” He said the Obama administration was in bed with Moscow.
“They were the ones that were dealing with Russia. It was a disinformation campaign,” he said.
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Trump calls Ginsburg an ‘amazing woman,’ learns of her death after campaign speech
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Bemidji, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) more > By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times – Friday, September 18, 2020 President Trump called the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “an amazing woman” Friday night and had no…
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Bemidji, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) more>
By Dave Boyer
The Washington Times
Friday, September 18, 2020
President Trump called the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “an amazing woman” Friday night and had no immediate comment on filling the vacancy on the high court.
The president learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death after speaking at a campaign rally in Minnesota.
“She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that. You’re telling me that for the first time,” he told reporters before boarding Air Force One at the rally site. “She led an amazing life, what else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agree or not, she led an amazing life. I am sad to hear that.”
She was 87 years old.
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Trump calls on Fox News to fire reporter in war dead controversy |NationalTribune.com
US President Donald Trump has demanded the Fox News network fire its national security correspondent after she confirmed claims he had disparaged the military – a bombshell that has dogged him for two days. Trump came under fire after The Atlantic magazine reported he had called marines killed in action in the World War I…
US President Donald Trump has demanded the Fox News network fire its national security correspondent after she confirmed claims he had disparaged the military – a bombshell that has dogged him for two days.
Trump came under fire after The Atlantic magazine reported he had called marines killed in action in the World War I “losers” and “suckers” in connection with a November 2018 visit to France in which he skipped a visit to a United States’s military cemetery.
Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin on Saturday said two former administration officials had confirmed to her the president “did not want to drive to honour American war dead” at the Aisne-Marne cemetery outside Paris, implying weather was not a factor.
One official also told her Trump had used the word “suckers” to denigrate the military, but in a different context related to the Vietnam War.
“When the president spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, ‘It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker’,” she quoted the unnamed official as saying.
“It was a character flaw of the president. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it,” the source said.
Trump has furiously defended himself in the wake of the story in The Atlantic, tweeting and retweeting stories condemning it as “fake news”.
“You work so hard for the military, from completely rebuilding a depleted mess that was left by OBiden, to fixing a broken V.A. and fighting for large scale military pay raises, and then a slimeball reporter, maybe working with disgruntled people, makes up such a horrible charge,” a furious Trump tweeted on Saturday.
A day earlier, the US president had tweeted: “Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!”
You work so hard for the military, from completely rebuilding a depleted mess that was left by OBiden, to fixing a broken V.A. and fighting for large scale military pay raises, and then a slimeball reporter, maybe working with disgruntled people, makes up such a horrible charge..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2020
According to The Atlantic, in a conversation with senior staff members, on the morning of the visit, Trump said: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
The official explanation for that missed visit was bad weather.
The habitually Trump-friendly Fox News has been criticised for seemingly sidelining Griffin’s reporting in its coverage of the story.
A story on its website on Saturday was headlined: “Sources dispute claim Trump nixed visit to military cemetery over disdain for slain veterans.”
Several of Griffin’s colleagues at Fox have publicly defended her on Twitter, along with Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger, who called her “fair and unafraid”.
“I can tell you that my sources are unimpeachable,” Griffin said on-air on her network on Saturday. “My sources are not anonymous to me and I doubt they are anonymous to the president.”
Just before The Atlantic published its story, a poll by the Military Times and the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that just 37.4 percent of active-duty personnel support Trump’s re-election bid, while 43.1 percent back Joe Biden.
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