Egypt: Former presidential candidate calls for war plan over Ethiopian dam

Former presidential candidate and journalist Hamdeen Sabahi in Cairo, Egypt on December 7, 2017 [Mohamed el Raai/Anadolu Agency]

A former presidential candidate in Egypt has called on the government to prepare for a « just war » against Ethiopia, following the failure of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, it has been reported.

In a statement on Facebook, Hamdeen Sabahi called for « an urgent plan to prepare the people and society for war, and ensure national unity. » The threat, he said, is that Egypt’s share of water from the River Nile may be cut off by the dam.

Unity, he said, can be consolidated between the people, the army, and the opposition through the immediate release of prisoners of conscience. « This will heal internal wounds to face the external threat. »

Sabahi pointed out that after ten years of failure to negotiate, there are fewer than 80 days left to « save Egypt » before the second filling of the Renaissance Dam reservoir. « It is an existential threat for Egypt, the people, and the state. Victory is the only option; there is no alternative. »

He used his post to set out his vision for the way forward to confront the crisis head-on. « The path will start with an announcement by the government that there will be no further negotiations unless Ethiopia stops all construction work on the dam. » All of the commitments « burdening » Egypt, he suggested, should be revoked by the House of Representatives in Cairo.