After Saudi officials visited the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, Egypt’s media launched an attack against the Kingdom which adds up to the already strained tensions in the relations of both countries.
Many Egyptian media platforms considered it as a “political intrigue” in response to the Egyptian stance in the Syrian file that opposes Saudi Arabia’s policy.
In addition, talk show hosts in Egypt criticized Saudi Arabia and its military interventions in the region after its officials visited the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD].
In this context, al-Anba al-Dawliya, a pro-government weekly newspaper, wrote in its main front page headline “His majesty, the traitor” on Tuesday next to a picture of Saudi’s King Salman.
The weekly newspaper wrote on its subheadline, “Salman goes against his brother’s will, stops supplying petrol, issues GCC statement condemning Cairo, sends his advisers to visit the GERD, and supports Ethiopia.”
It is noteworthy that the Renaissance Dam is considered a sensitive issue to Egypt as it fears that it would have negative repercussions on its water share (55.5 billion cubic meters) from the Nile River.
However, the Ethiopians said that the dam will be beneficial, especially in generating power and will have no harm on Egypt and Sudan.
In addition, Egyptian TV host Khaled Salah also attacked the Saudi government for its military interventions in Syria and Yemen, saying the kingdom was fighting a “losing war”.
He also said that “Gulf countries have unfortunately shed much Arab blood in Syria and other places through buying media outlets.”
In the same context, Columnist Abdel Latif al-Menawy wrote also that the visit was a deliberate “passive aggressive” move that has come as the rift has shown no signs of improvement.
Last week , Ahmed al-Khatib, a senior adviser of Saudi King Salman, paid a visit to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam within the framework of his presence in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to find out the possibility of renewable energy generation.
The Ethiopian source, that accompanied the Saudi official to the dam, said that Al-Khatib visited the dam , and was received by the project manager Semegnew Bekele.
In the same context, Saudi Minister of Agriculture Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen al-Fadhli has also visited Ethiopia before Al-Khatib’s visit.
Saudi Arabia was a major supporter of the military-backed regime in Egypt following the 2013 coup against Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, and has poured billions of dollars in support to al-Sisi regime.
However, since Egypt’s vote on the Russian-backed draft resolution in the United Nations security council, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have started a cold war on media platforms.
Egypt’s vote on October 8 to support a Russian Security Council resolution on Aleppo has exposed an unprecedented rift between Egypt and its strongest Arab ally, Saudi Arabia. The vote triggered the first public condemnation by the Saudis of the Egyptian regime, which they helped bring to power three years ago.
The Saudi criticism also coincided with cutting monthly discounted oil shipments to Egypt, a much-needed support for the country’s deteriorating economy.
In this context, there is no doubt that Egypt is alarmed by the recent Saudi relations with Ethiopia as it came amid the tensions between Riyadh and Cairo on regional issues.
In addition, the Qatari FM visit to Ethiopia will also seem suspicious to Cairo especially that Egyptian-Qatari relations have soared since the military coup as the Egyptian authorities accused Doha of harboring members of the Muslim Brotherhood.