All eyes on UNSC as world leaders discuss GERD dispute

Sarah El-Sheikh
3 Min Read

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will hold an urgent session, on Monday, to discuss the ongoing dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The UNSC meeting follows a series of high-level meetings and consultations between Egypt and the council’s member states, that aimed to clarify Egypt’s position on the issue.

The UNSC has also coordinated with France, which is chairing the Council during June, and the US, which has hosted several rounds of tripartite consultations between the three countries involved in GERD negotiations.

Egypt has previously sent a letter to the UNSC emphasising the importance of the continued negotiations “in good faith” between the three concerned countries. This would be in implementation of their obligations in accordance with international law, to reach a “fair and balanced” solution to the issue.

Egypt has also emphasised that no “unilateral measures” should be taken that might affect the chances of reaching an agreement, and may constitute a threat to international peace and security.

The UNSC Monday session comes following an African Union (AU) mini-summit held last Friday in response to a call from South African President and current AU Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The summit was attended by Egyptian, Sudanese, and Ethiopian leaders, and resulted in Ethiopia’s commitment to not taking unilateral action in filling the dam without agreement. Ethiopia also agreed to set a binding time frame of two weeks.

On Saturday, AU Commission Head Moussa Faki Mohamed confirmed that over 90% of the three countries’ disagreements on GERD have been resolved in the trilateral negotiations.

The AU statement said that a committee composed of representatives from the three countries and South Africa, as well as AU representatives, will work to resolve outstanding legal and technical issues. The committee is expected to issue a report on the progress of the negotiations within a week.

Also on Saturday, Ethiopian Water Minister Selicie Bekele said that there would be an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan regarding the GERD’s filling in two to three weeks.

The GERD is a large-scale hydroelectric dam project under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region. Construction on the project started in April 2011. Egypt has expressed concerns that the dam’s construction could negatively affect its 55bn cbm share of River Nile water.


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