Ethiopia deems Tunisia’s GERD proposal to the UNSC ‘inappropriate’

Amr Kandil , Thursday 26 Aug 2021

Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Redwan Hussein said Tunisia’s initial GERD proposal was in favour of Egypt and was 'rightly' rejected by the security council

File photo of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) (photo: AFP)

Ethiopia expressed its disapproval of Tunisia’s ongoing preparation to submit its proposal on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue to the UN Security Council, describing the endeavour as “inappropriate”, a statement by Ethiopia’s foreign ministry read on Thursday.

According to the statement, the remarks came in a meeting held in Ethiopia this week between Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Redwan Hussein with representatives from the upstream riparian states of the Nile Basin.

The meeting was held to reaffirm Ethiopia’s unwavering commitment to equitably utilising the Nile River’s waters via close consultations with riparian countries, according to the Ethiopian foreign ministry.

During the meeting, Hussein said that Tunisia’s initial GERD proposal was in favour of Egypt and was “rightly” rejected by the security council.

Hussein warned that submitting the proposal again to the council would put all riparian countries in a difficult position.

He called for cooperation between the riparian states to reverse the Tunisian proposal, labelling it is “unacceptable.”

The Ethiopian minister warned that such an endeavour will undermine the tripartite negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the GERD.

At the request of Egypt and Sudan, the UNSC held a session early last month to discuss the GERD issue, during which, the two downstream countries expressed their grave concerns regarding Ethiopia’s unilateral acts on the matter.

While the two countries have urged Ethiopia to cease its “intransigence” and sign a legally binding agreement that regulates the filling and operation of the mega dam, Ethiopia announced that it would be proceeding with the second filling of the dam unilaterally nonetheless only a few days before the council’s session.

As the only Arab non-permanent member in the UNSC in its current session, Tunisia presented a draft resolution aiming to resume the GERD talks between the three countries within six months to reach a legally binding agreement on the dam and immediately suspend the second filling until a consensus is reached.

Ethiopia, however, maintained its course and announced the completion of the second filling on 19 July.

The three countries have affirmed on different occasions, including in the UNSC session, that they would like to continue to delegate the African Union to sponsor and mediate the talks between them.

Egypt and Sudan, however, have urged the involvement of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, along with the AU in mediating the talks, a proposal that Ethiopia rejected.

Russia and Algeria have also recently proposed to play a positive role in the GERD issue.

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