Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wake-up Call:A Smart Partnership with Ethiopia Is Now Vital -Sudan Vision

Omer Bakri Abu Haraz

Email: oba@haggar-cec.com
Date: 29/09/2014

It is known in the sciences of politics and tactics in civil or military activities that the intelligence and skill lay on the timely pre-emptive moves. I mentioned this in my previous article when I asked our government to pre-empt the malicious division plan of our beloved Sudan into five weak states. I asked for going back to govern Sudan in its old historic large regions in an ideal federal system that guarantees the fair and equitable share of power, wealth, development and services. Each region has to enjoy utilizing its natural resources, and adequately contributing in the cost of central governance, national army and national security in a way similar to America.

I also pointed out in that article to a smooth, calm and dangerous plot flowing in the direction of the division plan. This is coming through the water gates of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Our stand from the beginning till now is the backing and supporting the Ethiopian government in the construction of the dam.

On the contrary the Egyptians stood steadfastly against the project on the grounds that the dam design is unsafe and it reduces the annual quota of Egypt of the Rive Nile Water (55.5 billion cubic meters). Sudan's annual quota is 18.5 cubic meters.

This Egyptian firm stand dramatically changed in the last few days. On 17/09/2014 the Egyptian senior expert of water resources and irrigation, Dr. Magawri Shahata said that Egypt will now enter the negotiations with Ethiopia in a spirit of cooperation to reach an amicable agreement, pointing out that the atmosphere of negotiations are today different than before. Dr Hassan El Maghazi, Egyptian Minister of Irrigation said that a new stage of rebuilding confidence between Egypt and Ethiopia has started from the first week of September 2014.

This new strategic stand of Egypt will make Sudan and Egypt equidistant from Ethiopia; whereas the distance between Sudan and Egypt is increasingly widening because of the territorial conflict of Halayeb and because the ideological and political differences between the two regimes. So we are now having an unequal sided triangle. Two equal sides between Sudan and Ethiopia, Egypt and Ethiopian and larger sides between Sudan and Egypt. Forming an equilateral triangle is the best and ideal. Under the prevailing circumstances between Sudan and Egypt – political and territorial – the distance is too big to be shortened son to create an equilateral triangle. Considering this is a pragmatic approach the best thing will be to keep the distance as it is and away from increasing; by tolerance, calmness and refraining from interference in all aspects.

At the same time we need to shorten the distance with Ethiopia to make sorest side of the triangle between Sudan and Ethiopian. This is for the following reasons:

1. Our common borders with Ethiopia is 969 kilometers and S. Sudan – Ethiopia border is 934 kilometers i.e. total length of the two Sudan's with Ethiopia is 1703 kilometers. Sudan-Egypt border is 1275 kilometers less by about 500 kilometers. Considering this, the borders with Ethiopia to Sudan are very sensitive. Historically all military insurgencies against Sudan used Ethiopia as safe haven and launch pad – Joseph Lagu, Ananya Movement (1962 - 1972), Dr. John Garang – SPLM/A (1983 -   2005). Both diverged and spread from Ethiopia causing radical changes in the governance of Sudan. The first  one – Lagu Movement – led to the downfall of Aboud military regime (1958   -  1964) as  October 1964 revolution ignited by the shooting of a student  in the University of Khartoum hostels when the police used life ammunition to disperse a rally about the war in South Sudan  on 21/10/1964. The second – Garang SPLM/A led to the secession of South Sudan on July 2011 after more than twenty years of  death, destruction and attrition of dear resources.

2. The historic good relations with Ethiopian since the reign of Emperor Haile Sellassie (1930 – 1974) and the first years of the communist reign of Mangestu (1974 - 1991) when May regime started as leftist. This was followed by a full support of May 1969 regime under Nimerie to Meles Zenawi movement that ousted Mangestu in 1991. Since 1991 till the death of Zenawi on 20/8/201 the Sudan Salvation Regime continued and maintained the good relations with Ethiopia. After the allegation of Ethiopian and Egyptians against Sudan of an attempt to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1995 in Addis, the relations between the countries became tense for a short period, lukewarm for a longer period and back to normal since 2000 till now. This alone enhances my argument of the sensitivity of our relations with Ethiopia.

3. The special and unique similarity in the social, racial and cultural aspects between the people in the two nations.

4. The eternal life line between the two countries – The Blue Nile with its longest part running in Sudan.

5. The growing need and demand of Sudan to the cheap and environmentally friendly electrical energy. Ethiopia is called the Water Tower. It has a potential of generating 45 thousand megawatts. It is worth mentioning that the Long Term Power Plan of Sudan set by a recognized European Consultancy House in 2007, states that the expected power demand of Sudan as: 2015 demand 5000 MW, 2020 demand 9000 MW,  2025 demand 12000 MW and 2030 demand 15000 ME. The total power generated now in Sudan is 4510 MW, 44% of it Hydro and 56% Thermal. This means that we need after 5 years i.e. 2020 about 5000 MW to meet the projected demand and this will cost US$4.5 billion. The pre-emptive move mostly and critically needed today is to go with Ethiopia in a smart partnership in the completion of the Renaissance Dam.   There is still a needy room for this as till now there is a financial gap, the Ethiopian government is struggling to bridge. By this smart partnership we will kill two birds with one stone – We will achieve the objective of meeting our forecst demand of power as parents and not clients. Secondly will strengthen the relation with Ethiopia and create the shorter side of the triangle of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. This will be the second life line with Ethiopia – water and electricity life lines.

I feel very much obliged to point out that I called for this smart partnership in articles published in Al-Ayam, Akhir Lahza, and Sudan Vision daily papers on June 2011.

I followed this article after 3 months in September 2011 in Sudan Vision under a title (What a Coincidence), following the statement of Meles Zenawi in his visit to Sudan on September 2011. His statement which appeared on Akhir Lahza Arabic daily issue 1832 dated 19/9/2011,

Quote: "I was expecting Sudan to contribute 30% of the Dam cost as a partner because Sudan will be the great beneficiary of the Dam which will generate 6000 MW and it will be 40 Km from Sudan border and all adverse side effects will be on the Ethiopian side." Unquote.

In my articles of June 2011 I proposed 25% share by Sudan government and Sudanese businessmen.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Renaissance Dam will regulate the flow of the Blue Nile through its reservoir of 63 billion cubic meters. (Egyptian High Dam reservoir is 100 billion, Meroe 15 billion – renaissance power 6000 MW, high Dam 2100 MW  and Meroe 1250 MW.) The Renaissance Dam will also lengthen the lifetime of all dams after it by filtering the heavy masses of stone, trees, animals, and silt before hitting the walls of the downstream dams. All this plus the contribution of this smart partnership in reducing the risk of tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia at the likelihood of the emergence of remote, isolated and sporadic incidents.

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