Jump to navigation

Egypt

Dam solidarity in North Africa

The UN Security Council is likely to reject an effort by Tunisia to persuade it to intervene in the increasingly bitter regional dispute over Ethiopia's mega-dam 

In a rare outbreak of north African solidarity, Tunisia has called on the United Nations Security Council to finalise a binding agreement between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) within six months. Tunisia had prepared a draft resolution.

Diplomatic sources suggested that Tunisia's resolution had been at the request of Egypt and Sudan, who have been at loggerheads with Ethiopia over the dam for several years.

It urges the 'three countries to refrain from making any statements, or taking any action that may jeopardise the negotiation process, and urges Ethiopia to refrain from continuing to unilaterally fill the GERD reservoir.'

The move comes after Ethiopia said earlier this week that it had started the next phase of filling the dam, keeping a promise that it would proceed to the second stage of filling in July, with or without a deal. Last July, Addis Ababa announced that it had hit its target of 4.9 billion cubic metres – enough to test the dam's first two turbines, marking an important milestone towards energy production.

Few are expecting much from the Security Council, even if a vote is forced on the dam. Security Council members led by the United States argued that the African Union should take the lead on negotiations over the dam. Russia, trying to tread a middle course between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt suggested their senior representatives should meet in New York outside the Security Council.

Most of the Council's permanent members are chary of it getting involved in water-usage or boundary disputes because of their complexity and the danger of further politicisation.

Talks under the auspices at varying stages of the US and the AU aimed at mediating a solution have moved slowly. But now the ball is firmly in the AU's court.

Under growing pressure at home and abroad over the latest losses in the fighting in Tigray, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appears to prefer to play the nationalist card over the future of the dam, and sideline mediation attempts (Vol 61 No 14, The pride of lions).



Related Articles

The pride of lions

The obstacles to agreement over managing the Blue Nile dam are more about internal politics than technical issues

The positions of Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam seemed as far apart as their respective capital cities as officials began another round of video-confer...

READ FOR FREE

Washington unveils its new policy as tension rises throughout Sudan

Amid a spreading feeling at home and abroad that Sudan may be at a crossroads, the United States announced its long-postponed policy. This departs from the usual cautious diplomacy of interested governments by leaving the National Congress Party in no doubt that it will be held responsible for most of the country's political woes. The only sanction that the NCP really fears is military action: this is included in a confidential annex. As elections and referenda draw near, the Khartoum regime pursues its own military action west and south ­ and perhaps soon again in the east.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the new United States' policy on Sudan on 19 October, press reports focussed on 'engagement', a concept beloved of President Barack...


Freedom unfledged

Garang's mass welcome in Khartoum shocked the NIF - but doesn't guarantee his success

As a million and a half cheering people rushed to see John Garang de Mabior's triumphant return to Khartoum after 22 years at war, the National Islamic Front regime's power shudder...


Hybrid justice

The African Union Panel of Experts is to propose the establishment of 'hybrid courts' - which would include both Sudanese and international judges - to try those accused of war cr...


Polls, poverty and protest

Economic policy aims to spur growth and investment, while the regime keeps an iron fist in reserve for mass unrest

President Abdel Fattah el Sisi's government hopes this year to build on the stabilisation of Egypt's macro-economy over the past three years to deliver tangible improvements to liv...