AFRICA/EGYPT - Patriarch Tawadros on the controversial Ethiopian dam: water is a gift from God, and may God enlighten the rulers

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 middle east   oriental churches   water   development   diplomacy   geopolitics   pope francis  

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - Water is "a gift from God", that Divine Providence entrusts to human beings in order to guarantee life and prosperity, but as a result of individual and national conflicts of interest, attempts have been made to seize this important good. Therefore, he implores the Lord to enlighten the minds and hearts of those responsible and help them find solutions "that will satisfy all". This is what Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church asked, referring to the grueling controversy that divides Egypt and Ethiopia in particular regarding the use of the waters of the Nile. At the center of the dispute is the construction of the great Ethiopian dam, also known as the "Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam", the largest structure for generating hydropower on the entire African continent. The Ethiopian construction project has led the controversy with Egypt and Sudan for some time, who fear that the supply of water resources, which are essential to the life and economies of their respective populations, will fall dramatically. Pope Tawadros therefore asks to find suitable solutions through diplomacy. In his sermon at the Coptic Orthodox Easter liturgy on May 2nd, the Patriarch underlined in an appeal to Ethiopia the common belonging to the same "African continent", and inviting everyone to undertake paths of collaboration and sharing to achieve together the objectives of development", for the sake of all. We can all work together, recognizing ourselves as 'brothers of the Nile', the eternal river, for the good of all these peoples who have lived together on the land of Africa for thousands of years. We pray that God will awaken goodwill in everyone in order to make the use of diplomatic and political instruments fruitful and to be able to live together in peace and prosperity. Life - added the Patriarch - always teaches us that struggles bear no fruit…". During the Angelus prayer on August 15, 2020, Pope Francis also appealed to the authorities of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan: "I am following with particular attention the situation of the difficult negotiations on the Nile issue between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. I invite all parties to continue the path of dialogue so that the "Eternal River" remains a lifeline that connects and does not divide, that always nourishes friendship, prosperity and brotherhood". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 4/5/2021)

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