Ethiopia: Beware the Phrases on any Nile Discussions (Zerihun Abebe)

Egypt’s State Information Service announced that Prime Minister Hisham Qandil of Egypt met with Ethiopia`s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the later has pledged that the Renaissance Dam “will not affect the water share of Egypt.” This blogger believes that Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn would not and will never say that the Renaissance Dam will not affect “Egypt`s water share” of the Nile as there is no any shared water so far.

It is the firm position of the Ethiopian government that the Renaissance Dam will not significantly affect the water flow of the Nile Downstream. It should be underlined that there is a very huge gap between the dam will not affect “Egypt`s water share” and the dam will not significantly affect flow of water downstream. As explained and discussed in this blog, this is the aged Egypt`s tactic of playing with words to push upstream states to accept the colonial and partial pseudo-agreements mainly the 1959 Agreement-which is totally unthinkable and impossible.

Hence this blogger retreats of urging the Government of Ethiopia to watch phrases and wordings in any negotiations and discussions of what so ever with the government of Egypt. Despite it looks easy and simple the implication is undoubtedly huge and devastating. It is the firm belief of this blog that, as was done before to State Minister Berhane GebreKirstos and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, he would be misquoted by the Egyptian media.

This blogger further calls the government of Ethiopia to clarify the issue on the wordings to the Ethiopian people and make its positions clear to the governments of the Sudan and Egypt on the wordings. This blog retreats to sat Ethiopia Beware the Phrases non the Nile.

Ed’s Note: Zerihun Abebe Yigzaw is a researcher on transboundary watercourses, specially the Nile. He is currently a scholar at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. He can be reached at and also blogs at