The Director of the Engineering Department at the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense, General Buta Bachata Debele, confirmed that Ethiopia does not seek military option in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute with Egypt and Sudan through military force, but is well prepared in case of such scenario.
General Debele said that Ethiopia considers that a military solution for the GERD dispute should not be opted for and that water issues should not cause war during an interview with Russia Today, in response to a question about the possibility of solving the Renaissance Dam crisis militarily.
“The best solution is discussion through the African Union,” he said.
The interview came after the general’s participation in the Ninth Moscow Conference on International Security.
“But the Egyptian side does not want to solve the problem through negotiations. They come to debate and reject all proposals. In my view, the best solution is negotiations, and they will not be able to solve the problem militarily,” he added.
“They will not try to attack the dam, but even if they attack it, they will not be able to solve the problem or destroy the dam, because it cannot be destroyed by fighter plane bombing, and they know that the dam is solid.”
The general expressed hopes for the problem being resolved through negotiations, while affirming that his country’s government had already commenced the second stage filling of the dam.
“…when this stage ends, everything will be safe and everyone will come to discuss proposals for sharing water. Not building the dam, but how to divide the water, because 90% of the water goes to Egypt alone, and 10% to the Sudanese, while we have nothing left.”
Talks of Egypt
On whether his country was ready for a military solution, the general affirmed his country’s readiness to repel any enemy attacks that try to undermine Ethiopian sovereignty.
He pointed out that the Ethiopian side did not raise the issue of the Renaissance Dam during the Moscow International Security Conference, clarifying that Ethiopia is already aware of Russia’s position.
General Debele also said that his country highly appreciates Russia pushing both parties (Sudanese and Ethiopian) to solve their problems through dialogue rather than through military force.
The general then confirmed that his country does not indulge in arms deals or military training with “Russian brothers because of Egypt”, but rather to protect the country from its enemies.
Debele confirmed that his country’s delegation did not hold any meetings in Moscow with the Egyptian side, but indicated that it was ready for dialogue.