Politics, World, Africa

Ethiopian religious heads urge sharing of Nile waters

Ethiopian Islamic Council in a decree said Ethiopia has right on Nile waters, rejecting Egypt’s sole claim

Addis Getachew and Seleshi Tessema   | 04.06.2020
Ethiopian religious heads urge sharing of Nile waters

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) on Thursday called for peaceful resolution of Nile River water sharing issue, hanging fire between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

The dispute between the three countries revolves around the construction of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

Last February, US-sponsored trilateral talks between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan were stalled after Ethiopia withdrew accusing the US treasury department of siding with Egypt instead of mediating.

Tensions have escalated ever since with Egypt launching a massive diplomatic blitzkrieg. It has even threatened to use force, against Ethiopia, which contributes to 86% of the waters of the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the main Nile River.

“Ethiopia has not made use of the Nile waters and there should not any qualms when it begins to use it,’ says Mufti Hajji Omar Idris at a press briefing along with other religious scholars.

Omar a revered figure in Ethiopia said his country was not denying waters to Sudan and Egypt. “Ethiopians are trying to use waters Abbay (Ethiopian name for the Blue Nile) reasonably and equitably,” he said.

Ethiopia, a country with more than 110 million population is the second-most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. It also has a 35% Muslim population, the largest in Sub-Sahara Africa in terms of numbers.

“Egypt should not stick to a stand of using the water of Nile alone,” he said. Omar said that it only sounds a hegemonic attitude, not supported by Sharia.

“The Ethiopian people have a human, religious, legal and natural right to utilize and develop their natural resource given to them by Allah,” a statement issued by the EIASC said.

“Despite the longstanding economic, social and religious ties between Egypt and Ethiopia, Egypt’s monopolistic view on the usage of the Nile waters has deadlocked the negotiations to its current deadlock,” the statement said.

The statement asked Egyptian and Sudanese governments and religious leaders to be that Muslims or Orthodox Christians, to make efforts to revive negotiations between the three countries to find a peaceful resolution of Nile River waters based on justice.

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