Cairo—The Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic churches share close historical relations. Their ties have prompted some in Egypt to try to capitalize on the Coptic community in Ethiopia and the strong relations between these two churches to work toward solving the Renaissance Dam crisis.

Bishop Beeman, the coordinator of relations between the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic churches and chairman of the crisis management committee at the Coptic Holy Synod, told Al-Monitor that the church plays an indirect role in the Renaissance Dam crisis, explaining that the Ethiopian people will not allow Egypt to be harmed. Beeman talked about the churches attacked and burned after security forces broke up sit-ins being held by supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi at the Rabia al-Adawiya and Nahda Squares. He also addressed the latest efforts deployed by the armed forces to rebuild or renovate these churches. The text of the interview follows:

Al-Monitor:  In your capacity as coordinator of relations between the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic churches, do you think the Egyptian Coptic Church can play a role in resolving the Renaissance Dam crisis?

Beeman:  Based on its historical and spiritual ties with the Ethiopian church, the Coptic Orthodox Church can play an indirect role. The church is the soft power trusted by Egypt and Ethiopia. The church is openly fulfilling its duties in an organized and orderly manner and is sending messages of love to the Ethiopian people. We seek to consolidate relations between the Ethiopian and Egyptian peoples in order to create a suitable climate for politicians and technicians so as to improve the dam negotiation.

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