Despite tweeting in Amharic, the Ethiopian foreign minister came under fire for congratulating his nation for beginning to fill the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with the Nile water, a move that endangers Egyptian and Sudanese access to water.
የድል ብስራት!— Gedu Andargachew (@GeduAndargachew) July 22, 2020
ዐባይ ወንዝ ነበር ተገርቶ ወንዝም ሀይቅም ሆነ። ከእንግዲህ በወንዝነቱ ይፈሳል። በሀይቅነቱ ኢትዮጵያ ለፈለገችው ልማት ሁሉ ለመዋል እጅ ሰጥቷል።እውነትም ዐባይ የእኛ ሆነ !!
Translation: Congratulations! It was the Nile River and it's become a lake that will no longer flow into the river. Ethiopia has accomplished all the development it wants. In fact, the Nile is ours !!"
The tweet was perceived by many social media users as a "clear war declaration" as Egyptians condemned claims to the river that originates in Lake Victoria located between Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
The dam which cost the African country more than $4.6 billion has been triggering a lot of controversies since its construction began in 2011 and has been the main subject of concern in numerous international summits and meetings involving Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian politicians.
Egyptian people are ready to fight for their rights in the Nile river by all means including military power pic.twitter.com/WzEmbAYkzJ— Mohamed_Y_Hasan (@Mohamed_Y_Hasan) July 22, 2020
Two weeks ago, reports pointed at an Ethiopean decision to start filling the new mega-dam with water, which immediately affected the water capacity of the Blue Nile in Sudan. However, Ethiopia responded saying that rising water in the dam is "a natural part of the construction and mostly a result of a heavy rain season."
Last Tuesday, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan announced reaching a new "common understanding related to technicalities according to which GERD will be filled."
Yet, online clashes continued as social media users on both sides pledged to "fight for the rights to the Nile water."
Congratulations!— Sabah Hamamou صباح حمامو ? (@SabahHamamou) July 22, 2020
It was the Nile River, and the river became a lake. It will no longer flow into the river, but In the lake, Ethiopia has surrendered to all the development it wants.
In fact, the Nile is ours !!
(This is simply a war declaration) https://t.co/lsEl1co9vR
A clear war declaration ?? https://t.co/ZH6eCOlAih— ?️h♏️ad El-S?️?️?️?️♑️ (@ahmadelsabban) July 23, 2020
Meanwhile, Ethiopian tweets showed a clear sense of "celebration" in the country, as they dubbed news of the dam starting to fill with water as "a national victory."
Ethiopia must stand to resist and stave off all conspiratorial moves by colonialist Egypt. We applaud and encourage Ethiopia's diplomatic path for a fair and equitable access to Abay waters utilization.— AFRICA FOR AFRICANS (@AFRICAFORAFRIC3) July 22, 2020
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