Thousands of Ethiopians on Friday took the streets of Washington DC and London to protest US President Donald Trump’s remark that Egypt will “blow up” a contentious Ethiopian dam.Ethiopia accused President Trump on Saturday of “incitement of war” between Addis Ababa and Cairo, a day after Trump said Egypt will “blow up” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which Ethiopia is building on River Nile.
The demonstrators who have US citizenship said they would cast ballot against President Donald Trump in the coming US election as punishment against the presiden.
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are connected by the Blue and White Nile rivers and they have been at odds over Ethiopia’s hydropower dam and regional water-sharing plans for years.
Ethiopia sees its nearly completed $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as a vital national project to spring millions out of poverty. But further downstream, Egypt has deemed it an existential threat over worries it will disrupt water access for its booming population.
The long-standing tensions burst open again Friday, when Trump was on a call with Sudan and Israel to announce a deal to begin normalizing relations between the two former enemies. Trump’s comments then veered toward the dam dispute that also involves Sudan, which is located between Egypt and Ethiopia.
“[Egypt] will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said. “And I said it and I say it loud and clear … they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”
In response Saturday, Ethiopia’s foreign minister said in a statement that “the incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the long-standing partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations.”