Secretary-General of the Arab League (AL) Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the role of the organization in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute is not new, and that Ethiopia claims there is an Arab-African clash over the matter.
The Sec-Gen noted that Ethiopia is suffering from domestic issues and many ethnic conflicts, so the government wants to use foreign disputes to cover up for its own problems.
Aboul Gheit said in a television interview with a local Egyptian channel that both Egypt and Sudan have called for Arab support in their dispute with Ethiopia on GERD.
He indicated that the cooperation between the Arab League and the African Union was clear, explaining that Ethiopia had the right to reject what it saw right, but the AL also had the right to support its countries.
Last Wednesday, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry rejected the decisions of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers, which called on the UN Security Council to discuss the dispute over Ethiopia’s plan to fill the dam.
He said that there was an urgent need for a member state of the Security Council to adopt the demand for holding a session on the issue, explaining that the matter would come at the request of Egypt or Sudan.
Aboul Gheit said that water security is a matter of national security for Egypt and Sudan, adding that the Security Council will not hold a meeting at the request of the Arab League, but is waiting for a request from one of the countries to hold a session.
He recalled that the Arab League previously formed a committee consisting of several countries, in addition to the organization’s envoy to the UN, to follow up on the issue.
There is an urgent need for a member state of the Security Council to adopt the demand for holding a session, said Aboul Gheit, giving Tunisia as an example.
The UN Security Council cannot abandon international peace and security that is threatened as a result of a dispute that may develop into a confrontation and lead to regional instability, he said.
Aboul Gheit responded to Ethiopian statements asking the League to remain "silent", saying that the organization will not be silenced over violations of international law.
Ethiopia should refrain from causing any harm to the downstream countries, according to Aboul Gheit.
He reiterated the need for the involvement of additional parties in the negotiations to reach a binding agreement on the dam, warning that the alternative would pose a threat to regional stability, security, and peace.
Last week, the head of the US Central command, Kenneth McKenzie, warned that the GERD dispute poses a great concern to US interests.
“The GERD is very concerning to us. We recognize the unique importance of the Nile to Egypt not only culturally but also for water supply and for the general economy overall.”
In response, the Sec-Gen said McKenzie's statements "shed light on the situation” and indicate that the US will act when the situation calls for it.