CAIRO: Egypt said it had protested to the UN Security Council on Friday against Ethiopian plans to fill the reservoir of a controversial Nile dam for a third year without agreement from downstream countries.
The multibillion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile is set to be the largest hydroelectric scheme in Africa but has been at the center of a dispute with Egypt and Sudan ever since work began in 2011.
Egypt “received a message from the Ethiopian side on July 26, stating that Ethiopia would continue filling the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam during the current flood season,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
In response, Egypt wrote to the UN Security Council “to register its objection and complete rejection of Ethiopia’s continuation of filling the Renaissance Dam unilaterally without a deal.”
Mohamed Nasr Allam, Egypt’s former irrigation minister, told Arab News that the Egyptian move is a step on the right path. “We have moved from complaining to demanding that the UN Security Council play an active role in this case.”
It is the affirmation of Egypt’s legitimate rights to defend its national interests, he said, adding: “I see that the tone has become more powerful than before.”
Mohamed Mahmoud Mahran, a specialist in international river disputes and a member of the American Society of International Law, said if the UNSC sees a threat to international peace and security in connection with a conflict, it must intervene immediately to maintain security.
“The Renaissance Dam threatens the lives of over 150 million Sudanese and Egyptian citizens. If no agreement is reached and Ethiopia acts unilaterally, and if the UNSC doesn’t intervene, it could lead to unprecedented scenarios and spark a regional war.”