Russia and China have recently expressed their views that the African Union is the right platform to resolve the dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan
Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, reached out to his Chinese and Russian counterparts ahead of the United Nations Security Council meeting over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
He also met with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and other members of the security council.
According to a report by Egypt Today, Mr. Shoukry was trying “to explain its [Egypt’s] position ahead of the Security Council session on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” and what Egypt wants to achieve from the Security Council when it is meeting on Thursday to discuss GERD.
A few weeks ago, Egypt mobilized the Arab League to lobby the UNSC, seemingly with the objective to make the GERD a matter of security not only to Egypt but also to the rest of Arab League member states.
Ethiopia rejects the view that GERD constitutes a security concern for lower riparian countries. It rather sees it as a development project and would like the international community to see it that way. This week, Ethiopia sent a letter to the UNSC to express opposition to Arab League meddling in the GERD affair. Ethiopia was also opposed to taking the negotiation out of the African platform.
Ethiopia, a country that contributes about 85 percent of the Nile water while its consumption level has been zero, also sees that the African Union is the right platform to discuss the matter as the parties to the dispute are members of the continental organization. Egypt claims entitlement, and it is monopolistic, over the Nile on grounds of “historical rights.”
Russia and China, permanent members of the UNSC, support the view that GERD should be discussed at the African Union level.
This week Ethiopia has started the second filling of the dam with the objective to retain 13.5 billion cubic meters of water which is said to be enough to start generating power with two turbines.
Over 80 percent of the GERD construction is completed, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia on Wednesday engaged with Ambassadors from the Nile riparian states.
Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen on Wednesday met with Ambassadors from the Ambassadors in the capital Addis Ababa to brief them on the status of negotiation over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as disclosed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
He told ambassadors that GERD is a project intended to “equitably and reasonably utilize the water resource without significantly harming downstream countries.”
He also pointed out that Egypt and Sudan attempted to internationalize the difference on GERD by mobilizing Arab States League to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council.
Earlier this week, Ethiopia wrote a letter to the United Nations Security Council asking to put pressure on Sudan and Egypt to respect the African Union led negotiation process and not to take the matter away from the continental platform.