Ethiopia’s Disinterest in Dam Negotiations Can Ignite War with Egypt | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Ethiopia’s Disinterest in Dam Negotiations Can Ignite War with Egypt

Cairo sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council requesting it to intervene in the dispute over the Great Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia (GERD). A hasty filling of the dam in Ethiopia threatens food and agriculture in Egypt and Sudan, and for this reason Cairo wants the UN Security Council to lend a hand in tripartite negotiations.

In its letter, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs activated Article 35 of the UN Charter, which allows member states to warn the international entity of any crisis that threatens peace and security. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry decided to appeal to the UN after tripartite negotiations stalled due to Ethiopia’s “non-cooperative behavior.” The GERD, that Ethiopia has been working on since 2011, is to provide electricity for not only the whole country, but also its neighbors. The main problem Egypt and Sudan have with the Ethiopian project is the timeline to fill up the $4.8 billion dam with water.

Leaders in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa insist on continuing to fill the GERD unilaterally and without consideration how it will affect waterflows in Sudan and Egypt, according to Cairo. Ethiopia’s activities would be a violation of the Declaration of Principles that is supposed to prevent Addis Ababa from taking any action that would detriment the interests of Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt proposes that the dam should be filled gradually over a 10-year period, something that Ethiopia rejects as it wants to fill the dam in only three years. As a result of this rush, Egypt and Sudan may run out of 25 billion cubic meters of water a year that could lead to a severe drought and crop destruction.

Before Cairo appealed to the UN Security Council, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew warned on Friday that if his country were forced to “wait for others’ blessing” then “the dam may remain idle for years.” He added that “we want to make it clear that Ethiopia will not beg Egypt and Sudan to use its own water resource for its development.”

This raises the question on whether Cairo and Addis Ababa are on the brink of a war over water.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This could get very nasty very quickly; hopefully, cooler heads will prevail, and water will be distributed equitably.

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