Ethiopia to establish Red Sea military bases

Unit of Ethiopian army on 7 March 2021 [Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency]

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry announced yesterday plans for the country to establish military bases in the Red Sea.

The ministry’s spokesperson Dina Al-Mufti made the announcement during a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa, stating that “various countries are showing an interest in controlling the Red Sea region by establishing more military bases than ever before”.

He explained that his country is paying great attention to these developments, adding that it was “worrying”.

Regarding the concerns of Egypt and Sudan after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently announced the construction of new dams, Mufti replied: “What is the problem if the sovereign on his land says that we will build as long as his land is bound by international law? 100 or 1,000 new dams.”

His comments were in relation to Ahmed suggesting that Ethiopia intends to build more than 100 small and medium sized dams, as “the only way to resist any forces opposing Ethiopia”.

On Monday Egypt and Sudan concluded joint military drills amid the dispute with Ethiopia over its controversial Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile River’s main tributary. The six-day exercise was intended to showcase strengthened defence ties between the two Arab states.

Last year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated his country’s largest military site on the Red Sea, the Berenice Military Base, located southeast of the city of Aswan. In addition to securing the southern borders with Sudan and bolstering Egypt’s influence in the Red Sea, it has also been speculated that it could support anti-Iranian Gulf states and their western allies.

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