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Ethiopia rejects Arab League resolution supporting Egypt, Sudan on GERD issue - Daily News Egypt

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Ethiopia rejects Arab League resolution supporting Egypt, Sudan on GERD issue

Arab Foreign Ministers meeting indicates Arab unity, says head of Arab League mission to UN


Ethiopia has rejected the Arab League’s recent resolution on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which supported Egypt and Sudan’s positions regarding the controversial issue.

It also expressed its dissatisfaction with the resolution of the Arab League’s Executive Council,  following a meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in the Qatari capital, Doha. 

The Arab League affirmed Egypt and Sudan’s water security was an integral part of Arab national security. This was not the first time the regional organisation has issued a statement regarding its positions on the controversial Ethiopian Dam.

On Tuesday evening, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The Arab League wasted its opportunity to play a constructive role in the file of the Renaissance Dam file with its blatant support for the false allegations of Egypt and Sudan.” 

In its statement, the ministry claimed that “these futile attempts to internationalise and politicise the dam will not allow sustainable regional cooperation in the use and management of the Nile River”. 

“Ethiopia firmly believes that only through cooperation and dialogue can water security be achieved for any of the Nile Basin countries, as the Nile is a common resource and not the exclusive property of Egypt and Sudan,” the ministry said, “This is why it is baffling that the Arab League focuses specifically on the water security of the downstream countries in complete disregard for the interests of the rest of the riparian countries, which are the sources of the river.”

It also added that the Arab League should know that the exploitation of the River Nile’s waters is also an existential matter for Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian ministry claimed that Addis Ababa is exercising its legitimate right to use its water resources with full respect for international water laws and the principle of not causing significant harm.

In a resolution, the Arab League stressed its rejection of any measures that would undermine the water share of Egypt and Sudan. This was in reference to Ethiopia’s planned second filling in July, despite the lack of an agreement between the three countries involved in GERD negotiations, namely Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, on the dam’s filling and operations. 

It has also called for the United Nations (UN) Security Council to intervene in the crisis which risks aggravated tensions in the region.

Maged Abdel-Fattah, Head of the Arab League mission to the UN, stressed that “there is Arab concern that the GERD crisis does not turn into an Arab-African conflict”.

Speaking during a phone interview, Abdel Fattah added, “The meeting of Arab foreign ministers on the Renaissance Dam crisis in Qatar indicates the beginning of the unity of Arab positions on this file.”

“Ethiopia has many problems, most notably the internal issues, the Tigray region, and the election crisis, and Egypt submitted a draft resolution last year regarding an agreement on filling and operating the dam,” he said, “The Egyptian and Arab movements on the GERD file will not stop, which began with a number of consultations.”

“Ethiopia has many problems, most notably the internal issues, the Tigray region, and the election crisis, and Egypt submitted a draft resolution last year regarding an agreement on filling and operating the dam,” he said, “The Egyptian and Arab movements on the GERD file will not stop, which began with a number of consultations.”

Meanwhile, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, said on Tuesday that the ministerial meeting held in Doha adopted a resolution calling on the UN Security Council to hold a meeting to discuss the GERD crisis.

He noted that the regional Ministers of Foreign Affairs have called on Ethiopia to refrain from taking any unilateral measures that may damage the water interests of Egypt and Sudan.

Adel bin Abdul Rahman Al-Asoumi, Head of the Arab Parliament, praised the results of the extraordinary meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers, stressing the Arab Parliament’s full support for the outcomes of this meeting. 

He noted that this affirms that water security for both Egypt and Sudan is an integral part of Arab national security, and it cannot be compromised in any way.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the second filling of the dam’s reservoir will take place on time. It stressed its commitment to the Declaration of Principles, expressing its rejection of the decisions issued by the Arab League Council meeting at the ministerial level regarding the GERD crisis.

Egypt and Sudan have been negotiating for almost a decade now with Ethiopia, to reach a legally binding and comprehensive deal on the GERD’s construction. Ethiopia started building the huge dam, which is located on the Blue Nile, in 2011.

Ethiopia’s rejection of several proposals by Egypt and Sudan on the negotiation mechanism, which includes international quartet mediation, led to the collapse of the Kinshasa talks sponsored by the African Union (AU) in April.

Egypt’s 104 million-plus population depends on the River Nile for over 95% of its fresh water.

Sudan fears that the GERD will put the operation of its Roseires dam and the lives of 20 million of its citizens at “a very high risk” if an agreement regulating the operation and filling of GERD is not reached before the second filling. 

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https://dailyfeed.dailynewsegypt.com/2021/06/16/ethiopia-rejects-arab-league-resolution-supporting-egypt-sudan-on-gerd-issue/
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