Egypt in the News on 11 March 2020
The dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is again getting ink in the pages of the foreign press this morning: An op-ed in The Independent leans heavily on the proposition that war between Egypt and Ethiopia is a growing possibility, reminding readers that both former President Anwar El Sadat and former UN Sec-Gen Boutros Boutros-Ghali warned that water was the only issue that could drag Egypt into conflict. It also noted that it’s an election year for Ethiopia, and no political contenders can afford to be soft on the issue. “Ethiopia is isolated, Egypt is cornered,” the piece says, and suggests an agreement may only be reached by US President Donald Trump intervening in a hunt for a Nobel Peace Prize. A report in Gulf News said that a measured diplomatic effort will inform talks in the near future, quoting Al Ahram Centre for Strategic and Political Studies analyst Hany Raslan as saying that Egypt will stay committed to “cooperation and partnership” provided its interests aren’t harmed.
The sentencing of human rights lawyer Ziyad El Elaimy also made international headlines: The Associated Press reports that El Elaimy yesterday received a one-year jail sentence and a EGP 20k fine for disseminating fake news during an interview with BBC Arabic in 2017. Amnesty International responded to the court’s decision by calling for his immediate release and calling him a “prisoner of conscience” punished for speaking to the media.