Has the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Just Declared War Against Egypt on Twitter?

Published July 23rd, 2020 - 06:19 GMT
Has the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Just Declare War Against Egypt on Twitter?
Ethiopia has begun constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam since 2011 and has recently started filling it with the Nile water. (Twitter: @VOAAfrica)

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.

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. 

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."

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."

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