Egypt to go to the Security Council to solve the Renaissance Dam crisis

Egypt is considering resorting to the UN Security Council to prevent Ethiopia from taking unilateral action on the Renaissance Dam.

This came from Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, in a symposium entitled “Egyptian diplomacy: dealing with the current challenges,” via video conference at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Cairo. Shoukry said, “The recent negotiating position does not herald the occurrence of positive results, with the continuation of Ethiopia’s stubborn approach, in a way that will compel Egypt to consider other options, such as resorting to the UN Security Council.” Shoukry’s statements indicated that this possible step comes within the framework of the Security Council to “fulfill its responsibilities to remedy the impact on international peace and security, by preventing Ethiopia from taking unilateral action that negatively affects Egypt’s water rights.” Shoukry reaffirmed Cairo’s commitment to the negotiating approach over the past years, and its sincere intentions towards reaching an equitable and just agreement for this crisis, in order to achieve the interests of the three countries, according to the same statement.

Ethiopia plans to start filling the Renaissance Dam reservoir in July, that is, after a few weeks, while negotiations on how to fill the Renaissance Dam reservoir are still stalled. Cairo says that Addis Ababa deliberately kept the negotiations going on in vicious circles, without reaching any agreement, while insisting on starting to fill the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam without any agreement from Cairo or Khartoum.

In the same context, Sudan announced “significant progress” that took place in the negotiations for the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which took place on Monday, especially in matters related to the safety of the dam, the first filling of the reservoir, and its permanent operation, while continuing differences in the legal aspects. Sudan’s assurances came after a six-hour video meeting in which the ministers of irrigation and water resources in Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia participated. It was an extension of an existing tour mediated by Khartoum after Washington’s tours stopped last February. The Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said, in a previous statement, that the meetings were not positive and did not achieve results.

On May 6, Egypt submitted a letter to the UN Security Council to discuss the “developments” of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Since November, the United States and the World Bank have sponsored talks aimed at reaching an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, nine years after the deadlock in negotiations that began with the launch of the Ethiopian project in 2011. But the US mediation failed after the United States pushed towards signing an agreement that Egypt considered “fair and balanced,” which angered Ethiopia, which accused the United States of “not acting diplomatically.”

Cairo fears the potential negative impact of the dam on the flow of its annual share of the Nile River’s water amounting to 55.5 billion cubic metres, while Sudan gets 18.5 billion. Addis Ababa says it is not aiming to harm Egypt’s interests, and that the aim of building the dam is mainly to generate electricity.