Egypt President's visit draws mixed opinions in Ethiopia

The visit comes amid tension between Ethiopia and Egypt over the construction of an Ethiopian hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile.

Egypt President's visit draws mixed opinions in Ethiopia

World Bulletin/News Desk

A planned visit by Egypt's newly-inaugurated President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to Ethiopia has generated mixed reactions in the African country.

"I am optimistic that al-Sisi's visit will be the beginning to communicate," Dr. Gebremedhin Simon, Professor of School of Journalism and Communication at Addis Ababa University, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

Ethiopia announced on Thursday that al-Sisi would visit the country within the coming two weeks.

The visit comes amid tension between Ethiopia and Egypt over the construction of an Ethiopian hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile.

The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, which relies on the river for almost all of its water needs.

During last week's inauguration speech, al-Sisi said he would not allow the dam's construction to adversely affect Egypt's relations with Ethiopia or other African countries – a gesture welcomed by Addis Ababa.

Simon opined that the real diplomatic rapprochement between Addis Ababa and Cairo requires dispelling their mutual mistrust.

"On the Egyptian side, there is an ancient fear that Ethiopia would change the natural course of the Nile River and make Egypt suffer from water shortage," he said.

He reiterated that "Ethiopia has never been violent in its history and had never attempted to harm Egypt."

He went on to call on the Egyptian and Ethiopian media to refrain from communicating fear and violent rhetoric.

"The Egyptian media have been engaged in violent narratives in this regard," he said. "If there is stereotype, communication is distorted and misunderstanding arises."

No change

But professor Zerihun Abebe believes that al-Sisi's planned visit to Ethiopia does not reflect a real change in the Egyptian position on the Ethiopian dam.

"The visit does not mean a drastic change in the Egyptian leadership particularly on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)," Abebe, a lecturer at political science and international relations department at the Addis Ababa University, told AA.

"In my view, Egyptians are playing a language game because they are still repeating what they had been saying before but in different ways," he said.

He cited that the Egyptian constitution states that the country is committed to protecting the Nile River and maintaining Egypt's share of the Nile water.

"In this case, it is clear that the president cannot violate this Article," Prof. Zerihun said.

Tewodros Bekele, a 2nd student at Addis Ababa University, agrees.

"What matters for me is completion of the GERD. The coming or not coming of the president does not change this," he said.

But Messeret Belay, 40, a housewife, has a different opinion.

"We have open arms for those, who come to cooperate with us," she told AA.

"When they cooperate we have to cooperate as well and I say welcome Mr. President."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Haziran 2014, 17:00
Ameyu Etana
Ameyu Etana - 9 yıl Önce

The coming of the president is for nothing but, merely to show Egyptians as the president is active in seeking solution with Ethiopia. I think, not auspiciously, things will continue as they were as the two nations want to keep their stand and look for winning the case without having a door for win win solution. In a nutshell, the GERD will come to be true within this time.

hank - 9 yıl Önce

He's only coming to the African Union, and it happens to be in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

sintayehu girma
sintayehu girma - 9 yıl Önce

Ethiopia foreign policy is based on win win approach. the grand renaissance dam is constructing based on equitable utilization of transnational rivers.the dam has a benefit to the down stream countries Sudan and Egypt. it allows regulated flow of water . they also will got electric power with cheap price. the power will integrate the region which is a must in globalization .the former Ethiopian great leader meles zenawi said if there is an equitable utilization

Lakech - 9 yıl Önce

Ethiopia is committed to equitable use consistently and Egypt keeps this arrogance on the free ride by the leaders and by the people on social media. This show this arrogance may back-fire and they will get back to pay gold for each drop of water like their ancestors has done before.