Sudan urges Security Council to meet regarding Ethiopian dam

Sudan calls on UN Security Council to meet on controversial Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
2 min read
23 June, 2021
Sudan Foreign Minister Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi urged the Security Council to hold a session at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss the GERD.
Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi said Ethiopia's dam could impact the "safety and security" of millions of people [Getty]

Sudan on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to meet to discuss Ethiopia's controversial Great Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile.

Sudan Foreign Minister Mariam Sadiq Al-Mahdi urged the Security Council to hold a session at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss the GERD and "its impact on the safety and security of millions of people", according to a government statement.

Ethiopia says that the dam is necessary for its economic development and will provide electricity to millions of people, but Sudan fears it could affect the operation of its own Nile dams and expose its citizens to the risk of deadly floods.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile River for an estimated 97 percent of its fresh water, fears that the Ethiopian dam will severely reduce its water supplies and cause drought and famine.

The two countries have been locked in a bitter dispute with Ethiopia over the GERD for several years. Both have called on Addis Ababa to sign up to a binding agreement regarding the filling and operation of the dam.

Ethiopia has resisted this and insisted on filling the dam without coordinating with the two downstream countries.

In her letter to the president of the UN Security Council, Al-Mahdi called on him to tell Ethiopia to stop its unilateral filling of the dam, "which exacerbates the dispute and poses a threat to regional and international peace and security".

African Union sponsored negotiations between the three countries have failed to reach an agreement and Sudan and Egypt have called on international powers to intervene to mediate the dispute, a proposal rejected by Ethiopia.

Last month, they agreed to coordinate efforts to pressure Ethiopia to negotiate "seriously" regarding an agreement on the Nile dam.

Earlier this month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohammed Abdul Aty visited Khartoum to discuss negotiations over the Nile Dam and on Sunday Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel was also in the Sudanese capital.

Arab League states have also called on the Security Council to discuss the dispute and Ethiopia's plans to unilaterally fill the GERD for a second time over the summer.

The Arab League's ambassador to the UN, Maged Abdel Fattah, said on Tuesday that Sudan and Egypt will propose a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on the GERD if Ethiopia fails to reach a deal, adding that he doesn't expect permanent members to veto the proposed resolution.

Egypt renaissance dam

Agencies contributed to this report.