Arab League seeks UN help in dam dispute

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The decision came during a diplomatic meeting in Qatar called by downstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan…reports Asian Lite News

The foreign ministers of the Arab region countries joined calls for intervention of UN Security Council in the contentious case of the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

The decision came during a diplomatic meeting in Qatar called by downstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan, the Arab News reported.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters that the Arab countries will press for the Security Council to hold an urgent session on the decade-long dame dispute.

The Doha meeting came after years of failed negotiations between Ethiopia, on one side, and Egypt and Sudan on the other.

Tuesday’s development came amid diplomatic and political pressure by Egypt and Sudan on Ethiopia ahead its planned second phase of filling the dam.

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Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said “there is a united Arab position.”

“Water security is about survival for mankind, and for the peoples of Sudan and Egypt,” Arab News quoted Al-Thani as saying at the press conference.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Friday it had sent a letter to the Security Council to explain its position. It accused Ethiopia of failing to help reach a “fair, balanced and legally binding” agreement in previous talks overseen by the African Union.

Decade-long negotiations failed to reach an agreement regulating the filling and operation of the dam, including those hosted earlier by the US and recently by the African Union.

Egypt and Sudan currently seek to form an international quartet that includes the African Union, the US, the European Union and the UN to mediate in the tripartite GERD talks.

But the proposal has been rejected by Ethiopia.

In February, Ethiopia said it would carry on with the second-phase 13.5-billion-cubic-metre filling of the GERD in June.

The volume of the first-phase filling finished last year was 4.9 billion cubic metres.

Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam project.

Egypt and Sudan, both downstream Nile Basin countries, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.

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