US President Donald Trump saying that Egypt would “end up blowing up” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was tantamount to a declaration of war against neighboring Ethiopia, said a top Ethiopian church body on Monday.

Trump and others who have been irresponsibly beating the drums of war and conflict should refrain from their “interference,” said a statement by the Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, now in the midst of its annual meeting.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the statement said, is a project that brought hope to millions of people in Ethiopia suffering from lack of development and poverty.

“The world today is troubled by lack of peace and the maintenance of global peace requires the efforts of all,” it added.

Addis Ababa University also issued a statement denouncing Trump’s remarks, joining a host of Ethiopian groups and individuals as well as some US senators who took to social media denouncing Trump’s statement as reckless and irresponsible.

“Addis Ababa University does not feel comfortable with the statement of President Trump as it might cause a serious global crisis and add to the pain of the world already plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the university said.

“We would therefore like to advise that a reconsideration of the position of the United States, as stated by the president, would save the world from more trouble.”

Trump made the remark in a telephone conversation last Friday with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.

“I had a deal [on the dam] done for them, and then unfortunately, Ethiopia broke the deal which it should not have done,” Trump said, adding later in the conversation: “It is a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way. They’ll end up blowing up that dam [...] I say it loud and clear, they’ll blow up that dam.”