Egypt urges UNSC to prevent Ethiopia from taking unilateral actions on GERD: Shoukry 

Mohammed El-Said
3 Min Read

Egypt wants the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to undertake its responsibilities over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry told the Associated Press (AP) on Sunday.

Part of this would be preventing Ethiopia from taking any unilateral action in filling the GERD’s reservoir.

On Friday, Ethiopia announced that it would begin filling the dam’s reservoir during the rainy season, which is expected to begin in July. This would take place even if no deal has been reached with Egypt and Sudan, following the announcement that GERD talks between the three countries have failed to reach a compromise.

Also on Friday, Egypt announced that it had filed a complaint to the UNSC over Ethiopia’s actions. In the letter, Egypt warned of the consequences of letting Addis Ababa unilaterally control the River Nile and fill the reservoir without a prior tripartite agreement, which is considered an “existential threat” to Egypt.  

Egypt has accused Ethiopian officials of stoking “antagonism” between the countries. Shoukry stressed that Egypt is not seeking any escalation on the matter, but has sought a political solution. He added that efforts have been made to convince the Egyptian public of Ethiopia’s right to build the dam to meet its own development goals.

However, Shoukry did not exclude a military action if no political solution was reached. The statements came in light of a breakdown in negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the governance of filling and operating the massive dam.

“Egypt has never, over the past six years, even made an indirect reference to such possibilities [military action],” Shoukry said.

He added, “We will find ourselves in a situation that we will have to deal with…when that time is upon us, we will be very vocal and clear in what action we will take.”

This would only happen if the UNSC failed to bring Ethiopia back into negotiations and filling of the GERD project begins in July.

Shoukry has also called upon the US and other UNSC members, along with fellow African nations, to help reach a deal that “takes into account the interests of all three countries.”

“The responsibility of the Security Council is to address a pertinent threat to international peace and security, and certainly the unilateral actions by Ethiopia in this regard would constitute such a threat,” Shoukry said during the AP interview.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.