Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Ethiopia Regrets Arab Support for Egypt, Sudan

Ethiopia Regrets Arab Support for Egypt, Sudan

Thursday, 17 June, 2021 - 10:30
The Ethiopian prime minister during an electoral campaign rally on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Ethiopia has expressed regret at an Arab League resolution calling on the United Nations Security Council to intervene in a lingering dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the mega dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile.

Foreign ministers of the 22-member bloc met in Doha on Tuesday as part of efforts by Cairo and Khartoum to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

In a foreign ministry statement, Addis Ababa said it regrets attempts by Egypt and Sudan to “unnecessarily politicize” the GERD negotiations and turn them into an Arab issue.

“Ethiopia rejected the Arab League resolution in its entirety,” the statement stressed.

“The vain attempts to internationalize and politicize the dam will not lead to sustainable regional cooperation in using and managing the Nile River,” it warned.

“The Arab League should know that using the Nile waters is also an existential matter for Ethiopia. It is about lifting millions of its people out of abject poverty and meeting their energy, water and food security needs.”

“Ethiopia is exercising its legitimate right to use its water resources in full respect of international law and the principle of causing no significant harm,” the statement read.

Ethiopia said it sought to understand the concerns of both downstream countries, hoping to enter a new era of cooperation among the Nile Basin countries.

However, it accused Cairo and Khartoum of being “intransigent,” which made it difficult to make progress in trilateral talks.

It further pointed to the Declaration of Principles, noting that it is moving forward with the second filling in accordance with the deal and in line with recommendations by the research group composed of experts from the three countries.

The three countries signed the Declaration of Principles over the GERD in 2015 in a bid to ease tensions. The deal was meant to pave the way for further diplomatic cooperation.

The main principles in the agreement include giving priority to downstream countries for electricity generated by the dam, a mechanism for resolving conflicts and providing compensation for damages.

“The GERD is an African issue. The disagreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan can only be resolved through good faith negotiations and compromise in the spirit of finding African solutions to African problems,” the statement concluded.

Editor Picks