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UN Security Council to Discuss GERD Dispute on Thursday

UN Security Council to Discuss GERD Dispute on Thursday

Sunday, 4 July, 2021 - 08:30
A view of the Nile River flowing through Cairo, Egypt. (Getty Images)

The United Nations Security Council will likely meet next week to discuss a dispute between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt over the mega dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said on Thursday.

De Riviere, council president for July, pointed out that there was little the Security Council could do other than bring the parties together to express their concerns and then encourage them to return to negotiations to reach a solution on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute.

“I don’t think the council can do much more than that,” he told reporters.

“Frankly, I do not think that the Security Council has the logistical expertise to decide how much water should go to Egypt or Sudan, this matter is outside the scope and capacity of the Security Council,” he responded when asked about the GERD’s second scheduled filling.

Addis Ababa had requested that the council refer the matter to the African Union, de Riviere noted.

Ethiopia’s UN Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie Amde said his country trusts the AU-led process to resolve the dispute.

Addis Ababa finds it inappropriate to discuss issues related to cross-border resources in the Security Council.

The Sudanese government welcomed Saturday the council’s approval of its request.

Spokesman for the Irrigation and Foreign Ministries stressed Khartoum’s keenness to continue with the negotiations to reach a legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation.

Last month, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi called on the Security Council to hold a session as soon as possible to discuss the dam and “its impact on the safety and security of millions of people,” the government statement said.

In a letter to the council head, she urged Ethiopia to stop the “unilateral” filling of the dam “which exacerbates the dispute and poses a threat to regional and international peace and security.”

The government reiterated its commitment to the AU-sponsored talks and renewed its proposal to form an international quartet led by the UN, AU, United States and the European Union to tackle the issue.

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