Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for Bilateral Affairs, Ambassador Dr. Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Jandan has dismissed statements made criticizing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In a discussion with Ethiopian diplomats in Riyadh, Dr. Khalid said statements made against the GERD were not the policy of his government.
Citing the historic relations of the two countries, going back to the First Hijira when Ethiopia gave refuge to the family of the Prophet and his followers, Dr. Khalid denied recent media reports suggesting statements made against Ethiopia and the GERD might affect relations between the two countries. The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 1st issued a statement on its website which strongly affirmed Saudi Arabia’s close relationship with Ethiopia.
The statement emphasized relations with Ethiopia are based on mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs and work to promote common interests in the service of both governments and their peoples. The Ministry said any statements suggesting the contrary do not reflect the official stance of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In his discussions,
Dr. Khalid also emphasized that the ministerial statement reflected the high regard Saudi Arabia accorded to its bilateral relations with Ethiopia. These, he noted, are based on the principles of mutual cooperation for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries.
The statement of Dr. Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Jandan was carried by the Saudi Arabian News Agency and in the Al Medina newspaper. It is to be recalled that Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister, Prince Bin Khalid, made a comment in a Water Ministers’ summit in Cairo that GERD might be detrimental to downstream countries, suggesting Ethiopia’s legitimate development efforts were a political machination intended to harm Sudan and Egypt. The Ethiopian government strongly rejected the comment and asked for an official explanation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.