Oct 24, 2020 08:42 UTC
  • Trump says Egypt will 'blow up' Ethiopia dam

US President Donald Trump has said that Egypt will destroy a new Ethiopia's dam built on the Nile River.

He made the remarks Friday while announcing a normalization deal between the Israeli regime and Sudan’s cash-strapped and military-led transitional government.

"It's a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office with leaders of Sudan and Israel on speakerphone.

"They'll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear -- they'll blow up that dam. And they have to do something."

Trump, who is a close ally of Egypt's general turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had agreed to Cairo's appeal to mediate over the dam, with his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leading the talks.

Last month, the US State Department said it was cutting off aid to Ethiopia due to its decision to start filling the GERD without reaching an agreement with the downstream nations.

"I had a deal done for them and then, unfortunately, Ethiopia broke the deal, which they should not have done. That was a big mistake," Trump said. "They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement."

Meanwhile, Sudan's Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok, when asked by Trump on speakerphone about the dam, voiced appreciation for US diplomacy, saying his government wanted an "amicable solution soon" among the three countries.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been in talks for nearly a decade to reach an agreement on outstanding issues related to the potential impact of the $4.6 billion GERD on their water security. 

Ethiopia insists the project is indispensable for its electrification and development needs and has voiced optimism about kick-starting the GERD operations in early 2021.

Egypt depends on the Nile for about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water and fears that the filling of the dam will trigger a water shortage crisis in the event of a prolonged drought.