Egypt Looks to UN for Some Dam Resolution

  • Sudan had suggested referring negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam to the prime ministers of the three countries.
  • Egypt says that the dam threatens the flow of the Nile waters, most of which originate from the Blue Nile.
  • In May, the EU's Foreign Minister and African Union's Peace and Security Minister met.

Egypt submitted to the United Nations Security Council a request to intervene in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute on Friday. This comes as negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have faltered. The three countries failed to reach agreement among themselves, especially on the water-sharing mechanism.

As per the statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry:

“The request called for the Council to intervene, in order to insure the necessity of continuing the negotiations in good faith among the three countries; Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, in fulfillment of their commitments under international law to reach a fair and balanced solution and not to take any unilateral measures that may influence the chances to reach an agreement.”

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) formerly known as the Millennium Dam and sometimes referred to as Hidase Dam, is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia that has been under construction since 2011. Once completed, the reservoir could take anywhere between 5 to 15 years to fill with water, depending on hydrologic conditions during the filling period and agreements reached between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

The statement added that Egypt “has taken this decision in light of the stalled negotiations regarding the Renaissance Dam recently, as a result of the non-positive Ethiopian positions,” and “because of the lack of political will from the part of Ethiopia,” namely, its “insistence to continue filling the dam unilaterally.”

Sudan had suggested referring negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam to the prime ministers of the three countries after no progress had been made in the last round of talks.

Ethiopia says the electricity expected to be generated from the Renaissance Dam is of vital importance in order to advance development projects for the country of more than 100 million people. However, Egypt says that the dam threatens the flow of the Nile waters, most of which originate from the Blue Nile, with devastating effects on its economy, water, and food resources.

Ethiopia began building the dam in 2011, and with its completion, it will become Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam. Over the past week, discussions have resumed, with negotiations over the most contentious points of how the dam works in times of drought and the conflict resolution mechanism.

The Nile provides 90 percent of the drinking and irrigation water that Egypt, with a population of 100 million, needs. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group warned that if no agreement is reached in the coming weeks, this would “escalate tensions between the three countries, making it more difficult for them to reach a settlement.”

Egypt–Ethiopia relations refer to the bilateral relations between the governments of Egypt and Ethiopia. Both countries established diplomatic ties in 1927 to be the oldest on the African continent and one of the oldest in the world. In 1929, a British-sponsored treaty between Egypt and some Nile basin colonies awarded the former the right to veto any project that it deems threatening to its water share.

Europe’s “Mediation”

On 28 May 2020, the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, and African Union Peace and Security Commissioner, Ismail Sharqi, met. The meeting focused on exchanging opinions on the latest developments in the Renaissance Dam issue.

This came in a statement issued by the European Union and stressed that “resolving the dispute is important for stability in the whole region.” The statement added that Borrell had contacted all sides in the past weeks. The statement stated that Borrell welcomed the decision of Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt to resume technical talks between the ministers of water resources.

Borrell also stressed the importance of avoiding any further escalation and finding an urgent solution that meets the interests of all parties. The statement concluded by affirming the European Union’s “readiness” to support the parties in their endeavors and to share the European Union’s experiences with them.

Only $1/click

Submit Your Ad Here

Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

Leave a Reply