UN Security Council to meet on Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute

The meeting will discuss Egypt's and Sudan's objections to the Ethiopian dam.

al-monitor A worker goes down a construction ladder at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, near Guba in Ethiopia, on Dec. 26, 2019. Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images.

Jun 26, 2020

The UN Security Council will meet Monday to discuss the Ethiopian Nile River dam dispute, but one Ethiopian diplomat is not happy about it.

Reacting to news of the meeting, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, said in a tweet today that peace with Egypt and Sudan on the issue requires “understanding the perpetual poverty in the region!”

Monday's meeting will discuss Egypt's and Sudan’s objections to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Agence France-Presse reported.

Ethiopia began building the giant dam in 2011 to serve as a hydroelectric power source. It is on the Blue Nile, a main Nile tributary. Ethiopia wants to lift the country out of poverty with the project.

But Egypt and Sudan are concerned that an unrestricted filling of the dam will significantly deplete the water levels in the Nile in their countries. Egypt argues that it is entitled to a 55.5 billion cubic meter annual quota of the Nile's water under a 1959 agreement with Sudan, but Ethiopia does not recognize the accord. The river is a major part of east African economies. 

Arega’s comments are the latest in a series of open tensions between the involved countries. Egypt asked the Security Council to become involved in the issue after talks on the dam last week made “little progress.”

On the Ethiopian side, Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew told the Associated Press last week that the country will soon start filling the dam with or without an agreement. Earlier this month, an Ethiopian military commander said Egypt knows that Ethiopia can “conduct war” in what was seen as a threat over the issue.

Ethiopia has said it will start filling the dam in July during the country’s rainy season.

The African Union also supports dialogue to resolve the issue.

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