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Gulf states back Egypt in Nile river dam dispute with Ethiopia

The Gulf Cooperation Council also launched a political consultation mechanism with Egypt, according to Egyptian media.
Ethiopia Nile Dam

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) expressed support for Egypt on Sunday in its dispute with Ethiopia over the Nile river. 

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with representatives of GCC member states yesterday. Shoukry said they discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as well as Libya, Yemen and other issues. On the GERD, the Gulf ministers expressed support for Egypt’s water security and a binding agreement involving Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The GCC also launched a political consultation mechanism with Egypt, the Egypt Today news outlet reported. 

The GCC’s expression of support for Egypt on the GERD and the political mechanism were also reported by Arabic-language Egyptian media outlets. 

The GCC’s official statement on the meeting with Shoukry did not mention the dam, but noted the “necessity of respecting the goodness of neighbors,” which may have been a reference to Ethiopia’s position on the Nile river vis-a-vis Sudan and Egypt. 

Ethiopia built the massive GERD to provide power to its population of more than 100 million. The downstream states Egypt and Sudan have long maintained that Ethiopia unilaterally filling the dam will dangerously lower the river’s water levels in their territories. Ethiopia filled the dam this past summer and during summer 2020 during the rainy season in east Africa. 

Efforts by the African Union and the United States to broker an agreement have been unsuccessful so far. 

Tensions over the dam remain as high as ever. In November, Ethiopia announced it would soon finish construction of the GERD. The country is also preparing for the third filling next year.