When Tunisia's draft resolution on Ethiopian Dam crisis to be voted on by UN Security Council members

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Thu, 08 Jul 2021 - 10:38 GMT

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - Reuters

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - Reuters

CAIRO – 8 July 2021: Tunisia has prepared a draft resolution to be presented in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session taking place on July 8 on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis and to be voted upon later.

 

TV Presenter Ahmed Mousa detailed Wednesday the pathway of the draft resolution until it is voted upon to be either adopted by the UNSC or not.

 

On July 8 session, parties involved, mainly Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia will present their visions on the issue, and the draft resolution will be submitted to the UNSC members.

 

The UN permanent representatives of member states will communicate the draft resolution with the political leaderships of their countries following the session so as if they have any remarks, they shall be put forward in another session to be scheduled for either Monday or Tuesday. Yet, chances it will take place on Tuesday are higher.

 

Hence, the voting will be carried out on either Wednesday, July 14 or Friday, July 16.

 

It is noted that Tunisia is one of the 10 elected non-permanent members of the UNSC for the term 2020/2021.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry has gone to New York housing the UNSC's headquarters since July 4, and has been holding meetings with the UN ambassadors of both permanent and non-permanent member states as well as other countries.

 

On July 7, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi that Egypt and Sudan took the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue to the Security Council because of Ethiopia’s intransigence and attempts to impose a fait accompli.

 

The Egyptian president added that the move may later enhance the negotiation process – whose rounds failed over the past decade – under the auspices of the African Union.

 

The terms of the resolution proposed by Tunisia on behalf of the Arab League at the Security Council include:

1 – Demanding Ethiopia to cease the second filling of the GERD

2 – Demanding Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to resume negotiations.

3 – Reaching a binding agreement on GERD in six months.

4 – Demanding the three countries to stop any measure that delays negotiations.

5 – Demanding Ethiopia to stop unilateral decisions.

The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].

 

Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement, while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

 

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.

 

In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.

 

Washington had brokered tripartite negotiations among the three countries, in the presence of the President of the World Bank (WB) starting from November 6, 2019 until February 27 and 28, 2020.

 

During these rounds of talks, tangible outcomes were agreed on among the three parties concerning the rules and mechanism of operating the dam and the filling process of the reservoir during the drought and prolonged drought; however, an agreement was not sealed.

 

Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The Italian company is headquartered in Milan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.

 

The first filling was carried out in 2020 with 4.9 billion cubic meters. Currently, Ethiopia intends to do the second filling in July with at least 13.5 billion cubic meters.

 

On July 5, Ethiopia officially informed Egypt and Sudan that the second filling has begun, which is not expected to exceed four billion cubic meters, as indicated by experts. 

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