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Ethiopia: UN Security Council backs African Union mediation over Renaissance Dam

July 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

Egyptian President and the then-African Union (AU) chairman Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi speaks during the closing ceremony of the African Union summit at the Palais des Congres in Niamey, on 8 July 2019. [ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images]

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that the United Nations (UN) Security Council’s support for African mediation in resolving the Renaissance Dam crisis backs the tripartite negotiations that the African Union (AU) is brokering.

This came in a statement issued by the ministry’s Spokesperson Dina Mufti at a press conference in the capital, Addis Ababa, reported the official Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).

Mufti stressed that the UN Security Council’s resolution to support African mediation of the dispute with Egypt and Sudan is: “A major diplomatic triumph for his country.”

“This can be considered a great achievement for Ethiopia and for the people of the country,” Mufti added.

The Ethiopian official stated: “Despite the efforts made by Egypt and Sudan to refer the dam file to the Security Council, the latter returned it to the African Union.”

The UN Security Council held a second session on the Ethiopian dam dispute on Thursday, after organising the first meeting last year. However, no decision was issued on the Arab resolution draft calling to maintain negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan for six more months, in order to reach an agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam.

Read: Renaissance Dam crisis ‘beyond the scope’ of UN Security Council

The UN body referred the Renaissance Dam file to the AU, calling on the three countries to proceed with the negotiation path, without specifying a time limit as requested by Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia notified the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) on Monday of starting a second filling of the dam without yet reaching a tripartite agreement. Cairo and Khartoum rejected this, referring to it as a “unilateral measure”.

Addis Ababa insists on a second filling of the dam during July and August, despite not reaching an agreement. Addis Ababa conveyed that it does not aim to harm Khartoum and Cairo, but intends to generate electricity for development purposes.

On the other hand, Egypt and Sudan insist on reaching a tripartite agreement on filling and operating the dam first, to ensure the continued flow of their annual share of the Nile water.