ADDIS ABABA – The government of Ethiopia has called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to encourage Sudan and Egypt to respect the Africa Union-led process and negotiate in good faith over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Addis Ababa said this as the two downstream countries continued efforts to involve the Security Council in the talks over the dam dispute.
In a letter sent to the president of the UNSC on Wednesday, Ethiopia rejected the latest attempts made by Egypt and Sudan to seeking the involvement of the Security Council over the GERD issue outside of its mandate.
The letter said the recent actions of Egypt and Sudan are simply a continuation of a well-orchestrated scheme to undermine the AU-led process and eventually declare it ineffective.
Their efforts are only erodes trust between the three countries, Ethiopia said.
The letter stated that since the commencement of the AU-led negotiation over the GERD, both of the lower riparian countries have disrupted the process nine times undermining the genuine efforts of the union and blocking a productive discussion.
‘Squandering genuine efforts’
Talks overseen by the African Union, aimed at reaching a binding agreement, have repeatedly stalled.
Addis Ababa said Cairo and Khartoum have tried to suffocate the AU-led process by injecting unrelated issues in the discussions, by unnecessarily securitizing and internationalizing the matter, and dragging the Arab league into the situation to further complicate the issue.
Their efforts undermines all the genuine, sincere, and encouraging efforts of President Tshisekedi of DR Congo, the current chairperson of the African Union, and his proposal for a phased approach for the GERD talks and the filling of the dam.
Egypt and Sudan have continued to squander the President’s efforts and unduly prolong the process, the letter said.
The trilateral talks that were meant to promote cooperation should not serve the downstream states to impose their colonial and monopolistic entitlements as well as their whims and wishes on Ethiopia, according to the letter.
In this regard, the letter stressed that the insistence of downstream Egypt and Sudan, not to allow upstream Ethiopia to fill the dam without their consent is neither backed by international law or practice.
‘Filling will go on’
Addis Ababa insisted that second-year filling of the GERD’s reservoir will be carried out in Ethiopia’s longest rainy season which will start in July.
The process will follow the stage-based schedule and rules on which understanding has been reached in the trilateral process, the letter said.
The letter concluded its explanation of Ethiopia’s stand over the tripartite negotiations by calling on the Security Council to encourage Egypt and Sudan to continue negotiating in good faith under the auspices of the African Union.
Earlier this week, member countries of the Arab League met at the request Egypt and Sudan, and decided to call on the UNSC to discuss the dispute and Ethiopia’s plans to go ahead with the second filling of the dam – a resolution Ethiopia immediately rejected in its entirety.