'Egypt can use Suez Canal to retaliate Ethiopia dam move' - Times Of India
CAIRO: Egypt could close the strategic Suez Canal to ships from countries like China that are helping Ethiopia build a controversial dam that threatens supply of Nile water to the country, a top opposition leader has said.
"The state is capable of holding talks with the countries financing Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam project, especially China and Italy," HamdeenSabbahi, the leader of the Egyptian Popular Current and a co-leader of the National Salvation Front, said yesterday.
He went on to assert that Egypt was capable of prohibiting ships from those countries from transiting the Suez Canal "until they stop harming Egypt's interests."
He also said that Ethiopia's decision to go ahead with the project ? only days after President Mohammed Morsi's state visit to the country ? was "extremely humiliating to Egyptians."
In comments reported by al-Ahram Arabic news website, Sabbahi also called on Egyptians to support the government in its dispute with Ethiopia over the dam.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River's two major tributaries, as part of its 'Renaissance Dam' project for electricity production, a move that raised concerns in Egypt and Sudan that the flow of water could be disrupted.
A final report on the impact of the planned dam by a joint committee of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian representatives is expected within days.
"We will not accept any pressure when it comes to our water supply," Sabbahi said. "Solutions must be presented to avoid conflict."
If Ethiopia continues with projects that harm Egypt, the nation will unite to deter an attack on its interests, he added.
Sabbahi said that while he fully supports Ethiopia's right to increase its energy production, Egypt would not accept any reductions in its annual water supply.