Egypt Asks for UN Help in Long-Running Ethiopian Dam Dispute

Egypt made a new appeal to the United Nations Security Council in its long-running dispute over the massive dam Ethiopia is building on a Nile River tributary.

In a letter, Egyptian authorities alleged that Ethiopia has thwarted efforts to reach a binding legal agreement on issues related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that would guarantee the interests of all nations. Talks mediated by the African Union hit another deadlock in April.

Foreign ministers from Arab countries will discuss the dam in an “emergency” meeting in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on Tuesday, the Egyptian state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also raised concerns about the project, known as GERD, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres last year. U.S. officials during the Trump administration, including then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, attempted to facilitate negotiations.

Ethiopia enacted the first phase of filling the dam’s reservoir last year. Downstream Egypt and Sudan, which fear potential disruptions to their water supplies including in times of drought, object to any unilateral move by Ethiopia to resume pooling in the upcoming rainy reason without a deal on filling and operating the facility.

GERD, designed to boost Ethiopia’s electricity generation, is on the Blue Nile about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the Sudanese border. The river, which originates in Ethiopia, joins with the White Nile near Khartoum, Sudan, with the Nile then flowing north through Egypt to the Mediterranean.

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