Attempts from Egypt and Sudan to secure a UNSC resolution to force Ethiopia to sign a binding agreement before the filling of the Ethiopian Dam were unsuccessful. African Union to continue leading the negotiation
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday backed what Ethiopia has been pushing for – an African Union led negotiation between the three countries (Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan) on the issue of filling and operation of the Dam.
The last AU led negotiation was held in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The point of divergence was that Egypt and Sudan wanted the European Union and the United States to have a mediating role, while Ethiopia insisted they should continue as observers as the African Union is leading the negotiation.
Since then, at least, Egypt and Sudan have been toiling to internalize the dispute at the level of the UNSC with the aim to secure what they call a binding agreement before Ethiopia undertakes the second filling of the dam.
Member states backed the view that the African Union, the three countries that have membership in it, is the right platform to resolve the GERD dispute.
Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the UN, said ❝We call on the parties to work constructively with the @_AfricanUnion led processes to resolve outstanding issues in a purposeful manner. It is important that the AU continues with its efforts.❞
Ethiopia adhered to its schedule to second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and started
At the UNSC, Ethiopia made a case for equitable utilization of the Nile river. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, speech at the UN demonstrated that Ethiopia, unlike the case erstwhile, will no longer give up its right for equitable use of the water from the Nile river, more than 85 percent of which originates from its soil.
Mr. Selsshi said , “The Security Council is faced with the question to determine whether Ethiopians have the right to utilize the Nile.On behalf of all Ethiopians, I implore our friends in this Council to answer this question: ‘Do Ethiopians have the right to drink from the Nile?'”
With regard to the second filling, Mr. Seleshi had the following to say :
“We’re dealing with a hydroelectric dam project, which is not the first of its kind in the world. We are building a reservoir to store water that will generate electricity by hitting turbines. For context, GERD reservoir is two and half times smaller than that of the Aswan Dam.”
Ethiopia’s mega dam is entirely funded from local sources – something that Mr. Seleshi reminded members of the Security Council.
He said, “What distinguishes GERD from other projects is the extent of hope and aspiration it generated for 65 mil
Ethiopians that have no access to electricity. It’s also unique because the construction of the Dam is financed by the blood, tears, and sweat of ordinary Ethiopians.”
Egypt mobilized the Arab League member states in its pursuit of “binding agreement” before the filing of the dam but it was Tunisia that proposed a resolution at the UNSC.
At the UNSC meeting Mr. Seleshi said “We urge our Egyptian and Sudanese brothers and sisters to understand that the resolution to the Nile issue will not come from the Security Council. It can only come from good faith negotiations,” as quoted by Reuters.