Addis Ababa closes a statement from the bloc calling on the UN Security Council to intervene in Ethiopia’s dispute with Egypt and Sudan.
Ethiopia has rejected a Resolution of the Arab League calling on the UN Security Council to intervene in a persistent dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over a massive dam that Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River.
The foreign ministers of the 22-member bloc met on Tuesday in the Qatari capital, Doha, in the latest effort in Cairo and Khartoum to reach an agreement on Great prey of the Ethiopian Renaissance (GERD).
Ethiopia entrusts the dam with its hopes for economic development and power generation. Egypt depends on the river for up to 90 percent of its fresh water and sees the new dam as an existential threat. Sudan is concerned about the operation of its own dams and Nile water stations.
“The Arab League of States should know that the use of Nile waters is also an existential issue for Ethiopia,” the East African nation’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “It’s about getting millions out of poverty and meeting their energy, water and food security needs.
“Ethiopia exercises its legitimate right to use its water resources in full respect of international law and the principle of not causing significant harm,” he added.
The largest hydroelectric power generator in Africa
The three nations were close to reaching an agreement reached by the United States last year, but Ethiopia emerged from a signature meeting in Washington, accusing former President Donald Trump’s administration of side with Egypt. .
The African Union (AU) is currently mediating the dispute, and Cairo and Khartoum have repeatedly called for the US, EU and UN to mediate as well, but Addis Ababa has rejected the idea.
The agreement would explain how the dam is exploited and filled, based on international law and the rules governing transboundary rivers.
The dam is 80 percent complete and is expected to reach full generation capacity by 2023, making it the largest hydroelectric power generator in Africa and the seventh largest in the world, according to Ethiopian state media reports.
The dispute centers on how quickly Ethiopia should fill and replenish the reservoir and how much water it would release downstream in the event of a multi-year drought. The last round of AU-sponsored negotiations in April failed to move forward.
The Arab League in its final statement on Tuesday made an appeal to the UN Security Council take the “necessary steps” to initiate an “active negotiation process” with the aim of reaching an agreement within a specific timeframe.
Egypt and Sudan said they sent letters to the Security Council this month explaining their positions on the dam. They both warned of the terrible repercussions on peace and stability in the Horn of Africa without an agreement.
In his statement, Addis Ababa said it regretted attempts by Egypt and Sudan to “unnecessarily politicize” the GERD negotiations and turn it into an Arab issue.
“GERD is an African issue. The disagreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan can only be resolved through negotiations and good faith commitments in the spirit of finding African solutions to African problems. “