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Ethiopian dam threat: Egypt seeks international support

In an official speech to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, Egypt demanded international responsibility to solve the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam conflict by reaching a legal agreement, according to Asharq AL-awsat newspaper.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry phone called António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to talk about the latest developments in the Renaissance Dam file. He stressed the foundations of the Egyptian position calling for “the necessity to reach a legally binding agreement regarding the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam.”

Shoukry warned about the danger of “Ethiopia continuing to take unilateral measures towards the second filling without reaching an agreement.” 

According to the statement, letters submitted include “an explanation of all the dimensions of the Renaissance Dam file, the various stages of negotiation and the latest developments.

Egypt fears the project could endanger its supplies of the Nile water. Sudan is also concerned about the impact the dam will have on its water flow. Ethiopia intends to start the second filling of the dam during the rainy season, next summer, unilaterally. 

Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in Kinshasa about a week ago failed to progress. Hence, Egypt and Sudan proposed the inclusion of the European Union, the United States, and the United Nations as mediators – in addition to the current role of the African Union in facilitating the talks. The two countries said Ethiopia rejected the proposal during the Kinshasa meeting.

Egypt previously submitted a request to the Security Council last year to intervene in the conflict that threatens international peace and security. However, the council decided to support the African Union’s attempt to mediate.

Egypt conveyed Bahraini support, as the Kingdom of Bahrain affirmed its support for all decisions taken by Egypt to protect the interests of its people and preserve its right to water security.

On the other hand, the Egyptian government is working internally to overcome the shortage of its water resources. The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi directed a statement to members of the government to ensure all successful implementation mechanisms for modernizing and developing irrigation systems in the country. Egypt’s efforts concentrate on raising the efficiency of irrigation water management and reducing losses. It includes a national project for lining canals and increasing the efficiency of subsidiary water channels.

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