The Egyptian government has been stepping up its long-standing policy of destabilizing and weakening Ethiopia by “providing full support to anti-peace elements” and pitting neighbors against it, according to a top Ethiopian diplomat.

The official, who holds a high position in the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry and asked for anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that “Egypt has intensified its destabilization efforts against Ethiopia and the volatile Horn of Africa region.”

Ethiopia’s administration led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in 2018, has faced multiple domestic and external security challenges.

Last November, Ahmed told Parliament that since he became premier, Ethiopia had witnessed 114 ethnic and religious conflicts, resulting in the deaths of thousands and displacements of millions of people.

According to Ahmed, all those conflicts were manufactured, instigated and led by Ethiopian armed and unarmed forces bent on thwarting his administration’s political, social, and economic reform agenda in order to trigger a regime change or failed state.

The diplomat said that for more than half a century the Egyptian establishment has been providing financial, military and diplomatic assistance to armed and unarmed Ethiopian forces in its bid to destabilize and weaken Ethiopia and thwart its ambition to utilize the resources of the Nile River.

Despite strong opposition from Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia is planning to begin the second phase of defense this August. Early power generation is slated to start this January or February.

“It is in light of this development that Egypt has intensified its covert and overt anti-Ethiopian activities over the past couple of years,” he said.

The armed Gumuz militia has been unleashing brutal ethnic attacks on ethnic minorities in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz state, where the dam is located. Hundreds of civilians have been massacred and tens of thousands displaced.

According to the Ethiopian government, the sole aim of the Gumuz militia, which has been trying to block the main road leading to the dam, is to trigger a civil war in the region and beyond and eventually delay or thwart the dam’s construction.

“We have credible intelligence that Egypt has been assisting the Gumuz militia,” the diplomat said. “Egyptian security agents have been in touch with the leaders of the rebel group, and they are working on enhancing their support.”

Sudan and Ethiopia have maintained peaceful relations for decades despite a long-standing border dispute over the agricultural area known as al-Fashaqa, which is adjacent to Ethiopia’s northwest Amhara region.

But last November, while the Ethiopian army was busy battling TPLF rebels, the Sudanese army took control of the contested area.

Weeks after the move, Sudanese officials declared that the Sudanese army had managed to regain about 90 percent of the al-Fashaqa area and demanded that the Ethiopian army vacate the remaining two localities.

Last week, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti accused Sudan of deploying its army further into the contested region and warned that Ethiopia’s “peaceful approach to the dispute has limits.”

Tensions remain high between the two countries, with thousands of heavily armed troops amassed along the disputed areas.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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