Creating new perspectives since 2009

Ethiopia rejects Sudan's request to take Nile Dam issue to UN

June 25, 2021 at 10:20 am

Protestors march down 42nd Street in New York during a “It’s my Dam” protest on March 11, 2021, where Ethiopians unite around the Nile River mega-project. [TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images]

The Arab League has announced that the African Union is to hold a meeting with Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to discuss the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the River Nile. There was no immediate comment from the three countries on the Arab League announcement, but this will be the first such meeting since April.

The government in Addis Ababa, meanwhile, has rejected Sudan’s request to transfer the file to the UN Security Council. Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said that his country sees no need to take the case to the UN. He called on Sudan to “respect” the African Union.

The Ethiopian official stressed that his country believes that differences over the Renaissance Dam can be resolved through negotiations under the leadership of the AU. He also told a press conference that it is not in Sudan’s interest to object to the course of the project, because it is the country which will benefit the most from the dam.

According to Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, however, the dam affects the safety and security of millions of people in her own country as well as Egypt and Ethiopia itself. She sent a letter to that effect to the head of the UN Security Council earlier this week. Calling for international mediation, she appealed to Ethiopia to stop the unilateral filling of the reservoir behind the dam as it threatens regional and international security.

Sudan and Egypt are trading accusations with Ethiopia over who is responsible for the failure of the negotiations about the dam which is under construction on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the River Nile.

Ethiopia insists that it is going ahead with the second stage of filling the reservoir in July and August, even though it has not reached an agreement on the matter. It insists that it does not intend to harm Sudan and Egypt, as the purpose of the dam is to generate electricity for development purposes.

Meanwhile, the governments in Khartoum and Cairo insist on signing a tripartite agreement about filling the reservoir and operating the dam, in order to protect their water facilities and ensure the continued flow of their annual share of water from the Nile.

READ: Ethiopia rejects Arab League resolution on Renaissance Dam