Egyptian experts have accused Ethiopia of false allegations against Egypt by unconfirmed information indicating that Egypt is working to establish a military base in Somaliland
Ethiopia shot a warning at Egypt in response to Cairo’s alleged intention to establish a military base in East Africa, claiming that an Egyptian delegation met with Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in Hargeisa and discussed Egypt’s plans to build a military facility in the Republic of Somaliland.
The reported Somaliland meeting was not acknowledged by Egyptian officials and the news emerged from a single Kenyan news site.
A spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dina Mufti told The Nation newspaper on July 27, “As a sovereign country, Egypt has a legitimate right to create relationships with any county in the region.”
Retired Egyptian Maj. Gen. Abdul Menhem Katou told Al-Monitor that Ethiopia is trying to turn the international and African community against Egypt by showing that the Ethiopian people are treated unjustly. He added that one of Ethiopia’s strategies is accusing the Egyptian state of controlling the Nile.
Katou stressed that the Ethiopian statements are inaccurate and there is no truth to the rumor that Egypt is working to establish a military base in Somaliland.
Katou said Addis Ababa is waging a media war on Egypt to drum up international sympathy in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis. Meanwhile, he added, military intervention over the GERD crisis is not an option for Egypt, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has recently said that the only solution is through peaceful negotiations.
He said Ethiopia is mismanaging the GERD crisis and trying to tarnish Egypt’s image, but it will not work because international observers widely condemn Ethiopia’s actions in the Nile river affair, which threatens to bring instability to the region. Bringing the case to the UN Security Council would not go well for Addis Ababa.
Hani Raslan, head of Nile Basin studies at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor that Ethiopia’s actions violate international regulations. Ethiopia has no right to interfere with Egypt’s relations with other states, he said.
Raslan noted that the GERD negotiations have become futile since the dam has already been constructed and is being filled and that no Egypt-Somaliland agreement could affect the GERD crisis.
Meanwhile, Raslan commenting the news about Egypt’s plan establishing a military base in Somaliland said “What is known so far that the issue of establishing an Egyptian military base in Somaliland is just a consultation that has not yet proven to be an agreement between the parties”.
About the benefit of that Egyptian trend in the water crisis, Raslan explained, in his speech to “Arab 21”, that “Even if this happens, it will not have an impact on the dam crisis”, showing that “the creation of an Egyptian military base in Somaliland takes a long time”.
In his vision of the role and importance of that military base, Raslan emphasized that “Egypt declared that there is no military solution to the dam crisis, so this rule may be part of Egypt’s attempt to return to the Horn of Africa in which it had influence “Historic, neglected in recent decades”.
Raslan criticized the Ethiopian reaction as stated in the news, and said it “indicates Addis Ababa’s intentions in domination; acting like Somaliland is a land where it does and conspires what it wants”.
“The Ethiopian response also demonstrates its strong hostility to Egypt, which is very clear in the dam crisis and in many statements and movements”, he added.
“Among other things, this Ethiopian path indicates; the overrated feeling that it has become an empire force that deals with others with some rant, condescending and underrated while Ethiopia’s actual reality is far from that”.
Jamal Zahran, a professor of political science at Suez Canal University, told Al-Monitor, “Ethiopia is capitalizing on Egypt’s diplomatic and peaceful response to make false allegations. I believe this has made Ethiopia greedier when it comes to Egypt. The 2015 agreement must be canceled because it is not in the interest of Egypt. The GERD crisis is ongoing and Egypt will suffer from long-term effects.”
Ahmed Ezzeddine, a researcher on Egyptian affairs, told Al-Monitor that Ethiopia does not want Egypt to defend its national security. All the Ethiopian statements against Egypt are intended to block negotiations that could result in a balanced solution between the two countries in a way that maintains Ethiopia’s right to development and Egypt’s water share, he explained. No Egyptian or Somaliland official has made a statement about establishing an Egyptian military base in Somaliland, he added.
— Egyptian local News (@RenaissanceDam) August 9, 2020
Although there are several foreign military bases in Djibouti, Ethiopia sees an Egyptian military base in Somaliland as a threat to its security, he said.
Ezzedine said that Egypt will not opt for military intervention in the GERD crisis with Ethiopia, despite its army’s strength. The two countries already have an agreement that Ethiopia still has not implemented. Egypt is serious about reaching a peaceful solution, but Ethiopia wants to manipulate the international community for sympathy.
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