Egypt resorted to the UN Security Council to solve the problem of the Renaissance Dam after it had exhausted all its efforts in futile negotiations that did nothing. As Dr Mohamed Nasr Eldin Allam, the former minister of irrigation, said: “Egypt did not stand against the Renaissance Dam. Egypt approved, signed, and stamped the Declaration of Principles in March 2015, and did not object to the volume of storage and did not object to the storage being from Egyptian water.”
When the Declaration of Principles agreement concerning the Nile River was signed between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in 2015, the Egyptian media cheered it on and the headlines that came out reassured Egyptians without knowing anything about that agreement. No one, not even the prime minister, the minister of foreign affairs, the minister of irrigation, parliament, the media, or any individual with knowledge about water and agriculture in Egypt knew the details or clauses of the agreement. This was the case until Ethiopia announced to the world that the Declaration of Principles, which Egypt agreed to, explicitly states that the Nile River is an Ethiopian river that originates from its land and passes through the borders of other countries, and it is not an international river whose waters are shared by several countries.This basically means that Ethiopia has the right to take action regarding its own national river, which stems from its land and to build whatever dams and projects it requires. It also means that downstream countries must negotiate with Ethiopia to obtain their share of water from the river.
Thus, this principle abolished the old agreements regarding the Nile River, which specify specific and fixed shares of the Nile waters that reach Sudan and Egypt. Ethiopia described these agreements as outdated and unfair colonial agreements that are impossible to implement now.
Thus, Egypt’s historical right to Nile waters was lost because of that ominous agreement signed by the three presidents. It is worth mentioning that the godfather of this agreement is Mossad agent Mohamed Dahlan, who mediated the agreement.
One of the worst clauses in the agreement is the third clause, which recognises the possibility of harm from the dam. According to the pact, all that is required of Ethiopia is to work to reduce the harm, as the clause states: “Where significant harm nevertheless is caused to one of the countries, the state whose use causes such harm shall, in the absence of an agreement to such use, take all appropriate measures in consultations with the affected state to eliminate or mitigate such harm and, where appropriate, to discuss the question of compensation.”
So, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi knew that harm would occur and despite this, he signed an agreement that gives Ethiopia the right to harm Egypt’s water resources. He did not ensure a clause in the agreement that preserves Egypt’s right to the waters of the Nile and stipulates its right to use all means necessary to preserve its water security.
We must realise that Egypt’s demands to the international community to preserve Egypt’s rights to the Nile waters are futile and useless after Egypt itself waived those rights when it signed the Declaration of Principles with Ethiopia and Sudan in 2015.
The majority of the world’s countries have huge investments in Ethiopia, including the US, Russia, China, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Israel. They have giant projects in the fields of agriculture, industry, electricity generation, and energy transmission. Some of these investments were in the construction of the dam itself, so it is natural for these countries to support the construction of the Renaissance Dam and seek to finish it and benefit from it. It makes sense that they would never agree to any action to be taken against Ethiopia or any war waged against it that threatens the dam and threatens the already unstable situation and thus threatens the huge investments and projects. We saw and heard Russia’s UN representative at the Security Council session last Thursday threatening Egypt if it resorted to the use of force against Ethiopia.
Resorting to the Security Council was just another waste of time and the Egyptian government knows this. Since when has the Security Council supported just Arab causes? The Palestinian cause is the best example and evidence of the bias of the five permanent members which established the United Nations only to serve their interests in the world.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.