UN Secretary-General Calls for Dam Talks to Resume

  • FM Gedu Defends Plan to Start Filling  Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

ADDIS ABABA – The UN Secretary-General António Guterres says Ethiopia and Egypt should look into the 2015 Declaration of Principles to resolve their dispute over renaissance dam.

Secretary-General’s statement came a few days after Ethiopia reiterated its plan to start filling up the reservoir of its mega-dam, being built on Nile River, in July.

Guterres “notes the good progress in the negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan thus far”, his spokesperson said in a statement.

He “encourages the three parties to persevere with efforts to peacefully resolve any remaining differences and to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement,” he said.

The Secretary-General urged Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, another downstream nation, to continue their discussion based on the 2015 Declaration of Principles on the dam, “which emphasizes cooperation based on common understanding”.

Egypt Involves UNSC

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been a source of tension between Addis Ababa and Cairo since the East African nation broke ground on the project in 2011.

Ethiopia – a source for over 80 percent of the Nile Water and yet to benefit from this resource – says the dam is crucial for the country’s economy while Egypt claims the dam will disrupt the water flow of the river.

Instead of building upon a trilateral negotiation based on the 2015 Declaration of Principles, Egypt chose to involve the U.S. late last year.

Talks held in Washington DC involving world bank and the U.S. failed to produce a breakthrough.

Earlier this month, Egypt took the matter to the UN security council to force Ethiopia delay its plan to fill the dam without getting Egypt’s agreement.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also warned the situation “potentially poses a serious threat to peace and security throughout the region”.

No Reason to Delay

In a replay letter sent to the UN SC on May 14, Ethiopia’s foreign minister Gedu Andargachew said there is no going back on the project’s plan

Ethiopia sees no reason to delay filling its controversial mega-dam, he said, accusing Egypt of being obstructionist.

“Ethiopia does not have a legal obligation to seek approval of Egypt to fill the dam,” Gedu said. “Ethiopia has made extraordinary efforts to accommodate Egypt’s unending demands and unpredictable behavior”.

Egypt wants Ethiopia to endorse a draft agreement emerging from the talks earlier this year facilitated by the US Treasury Department, which stepped in after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi put in a request to his ally US President Donald Trump.

But Ethiopia did not take part in the most recent round of those talks and denies any deal was agreed.

[Photo File]

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