Zamzami Bashir, Professor of African Studies at the International University of Africa, said that the visit of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to the Renaissance Dam site in Ethiopia is a message of support for the dam.
Bashir explained – in his speech to the episode (10/13/2020) of the “Beyond the News” program – that although Eritrea had previously not welcomed the Renaissance Dam in support of Egypt, now it has become supportive of the dam, noting at the same time that there are conflicts inside Ethiopia. It made Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed live his weakest time since his election.
About a month and a half after announcing the failure of the Renaissance Dam negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, Abiy Ahmed came out to confirm that the construction work of the dam is proceeding faster than expected, and that more than 76% of it has already been completed.
Abiy Ahmed’s comments came from the dam site, which he is visiting with the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, on the first visit of a foreign head of state to the Renaissance Dam.
In the presence of his guest – who seemed happy during the inspection visit of the dam – the Ethiopian Prime Minister confirmed that the second filling phase of the Renaissance Dam will store 3 times more water than the first phase that took place last July.
For his part, the Ethiopian writer and political analyst, Mohamed Al-Arousi, said that internal conflicts in Ethiopia cannot be used in the Renaissance Dam file, because the Ethiopian people of all ethnicities, sects and religions agree on this file completely, he said.
Al-Arousi considered that Afewerki’s visit comes within the framework of strengthening relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea after years of war, as well as a great support for the Renaissance Dam.
On the other hand, the researcher in international relations, Mohamed Hamed, played down the importance of Afewerki’s visit to the Renaissance Dam, stressing Egypt’s firm position on the need to reach an agreement that preserves its rights in the waters of the Nile.
Hamed added that Abi Ahmed seemed to be asking for help from Asaias Afewerki to save him from his internal crises, especially as he lives on a sea of problems.
While Al-Arousi believes that those who link the issue of the Renaissance Dam to the personality of Abi Ahmed are wrong, because it is an issue that finds acceptance among all Ethiopians, Bashir said that this dam is being used in Ethiopian domestic politics to mobilize support for Abi Ahmed in light of the crises he suffers in his country.
The researcher in international relations, Muhammad Hamid, returned to point out that Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is still an ally of Cairo, even though he “plays on all the strings”, and is trying to establish a balanced relationship with everyone, just as Abiy Ahmed needs Afwerki and not the other way around.
Regarding the operation of the Renaissance Dam, Zamzami Bashir said that Ethiopia continues to insist on its unilateral steps regarding the operation of the dam, a position that Egypt and Sudan oppose, which demand an agreement on the stages of filling and operating the dam.
It is noteworthy that Abi Ahmed and Afwerki’s visit to the Renaissance Dam comes a few days after the Ethiopian Parliament began discussing a draft resolution calling for a solution regarding the dam, preserving the rights of the three countries, and about a week after Addis Ababa’s decision to ban flying over the dam site.