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Dispute over Ethiopian Dam: Arab League calls for UN intervention

Dispute over Ethiopian Dam: Arab League calls for UN intervention

Amidst decade-long spite between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over Ethiopia's massive dam on the Blue Nile, Arab League (AL) foreign ministers in their emergency meeting held in Qatar on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to resolve the dam conflict through diplomatic channels. The meeting was convened on demand of Egypt and Sudan to assess the new development of the dam issue.

Arab League officials said in a press conference that the Arab countries will press for the Security Council to hold an urgent session on the water dispute as Ethiopia plans to proceed with a second filling of the dam. Egypt had appealed to the UNSC earlier and stated that Ethiopia failed to come to terms put forth by the African Union on a legal agreement on issues related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Following a series of unfruitful negotiations, the Doha meeting, attended by 17 foreign ministers, expects to prevent a conflict when the second phase of water filling occurs next month despite the absence of a water-use agreement with Egypt and Sudan.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a joint press conference with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit that the AL council may also take gradual measures to support Egypt and Sudan in the dispute over the dam. "Water security is about survival for mankind, and for the peoples of Sudan and Egypt," said Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

In a bid to make Ethiopia a major power exporter, the country has fully financed and maintained the Renaissance dam, on which Ethiopian authorities place the expectations of pulling millions of its near 110 million citizens out of poverty. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry pointed out that Egypt cannot accept the Ethiopian perspective of imposing its vision on others and deliberately ignoring agreements governing international rivers.

Ethiopia carried out the first phase of filling the reservoir last year, however, this has raised worries in Egypt and Sudan about possible commotions to their major water sources.

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TAGS:Arab league UN intervention Ethiopia Egypt Sudan 
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