Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom met today (June 11th) with Mr. Olof Skoug, Permanent Chair of the EU Peace and Security Committee for discussions on regional issues. Mr. Skoug Olaf congratulated Ethiopia on the successful hosting of the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU. He explained to Dr. Tedros that the EU Peace and Security Committee covers these issues in dealing with Africa and the EU had an interest in stabilizing conflict situations and searching for lasting solutions to conflict in both West Africa and in the Horn of Africa regions. In this context, Mr. Skoug said he appreciated Ethiopia’s role in helping ensure peace and security in Somalia, and hoped it would continue its assistance to sustain the gains made so far.
Dr. Tedros underlined Ethiopia’s firm commitment to focus on development as it believed that poverty was the number one enemy for the people of Ethiopia and for the region at large. Ethiopia, he said, is working to sustain economic development for the region through building confidence and trust among countries in the Horn of Africa. On Somalia, Dr. Tedros noted that even though there were some hiccups as witnessed in the recent fighting in Kismayo, nevertheless there was now a window of opportunity which must be exploited. He noted that Ethiopia was also encouraging both Sudan and South Sudan to return to the peace process and implement the agreements they had already signed.
On the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and recent statements from Egypt, Dr. Tedros expressed his concern over the path that Egypt appeared to be taking. He stressed that Ethiopia was building the Dam to address its burgeoning energy demands. It had repeatedly made clear that there would be no appreciable harm on Egypt. In order to address the concerns of lower riparian countries, Ethiopia had taken the initiative to establish an International Panel of Experts, Dr. Tedros said, and the panel in its report had made quite clear that the Dam would not harm the lower riparian countries. He also noted that Egypt was quite aware that the re-routing of the course of the Nile during the construction process of the Dam was a perfectly normal element of construction. Dr. Tedros suggested that Egypt’s current efforts to politicize the re-routing process were being made because it knew the report of the International Panel of Experts would be positive.
Dr. Tedros underlined that Ethiopia has been trying to close this chapter of playing a zero-sum game. It was anxious to open a new chapter. The statements from the Egyptian side as well as the way it was currently mixing the Nile issue with domestic politics were not helpful for the people of Egypt, he said. Ethiopia wants to get on the right track, starting with the report of the International Panel which had explicitly stated that the Dam would offer significant benefits to Egypt. Dr. Tedros also emphasized that Ethiopia would never halt or delay construction of the Dam.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia – June 11, 2013, titled “Dr Tedros meets with Permanent Chair of the EU Peace and Security Committee”.