The Arab League headquarters in Cairo. File/Reuters
The Arab League slammed on Tuesday Ethiopia’s “clear endeavour to drive a wedge” between the pan-Arab body and the African Union (AU) over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Addis Ababa said on Tuesday it sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) protesting the “unwelcome meddling” of the Arab League on GERD, asserting that the league addressed the UN on the GERD issue “which does not fall within its purview”.
The Ethiopian letter to the UNSC claimed that the league’s approach on the issue undermines the relations between the AU and the league.
“The Ethiopian endeavour is unfortunately trying to portray the issue as an Arab-African conflict,” an Arab League statement cited an official source at the General Secretariat of the league as saying in response to the letter.
The source said this Ethiopian attempt is “wrong and causes alarm and regret,” calling on Addis Ababa to “review this unconstructive approach.”
The statement said the Arab League is not planning to engage in any form of confrontation with the African Union, especially as ten of the league’s member countries are also members of the AU.
The statement affirmed that the league maintains diverse frameworks and mechanisms for consultation and joint work with the AU and is keen to coordinate stances with the AU on many issues.
The statement also highlighted the special, friendly relations gathering Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the Secretary of the Arab League, and Chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki.
“Ethiopia’s message [to the UNSC] included several inaccuracies, but the most dangerous was the clear attempt to drive a wedge between two regional organizations that have always maintained the closest and firmest relations in the past and the present,” the statement added.
The source also noted that the league’s intervention in the GERD issue is a “normal and logical” matter given that the issue affects two of its member states; Egypt and Sudan.
The source affirmed that the stances of the two countries calling for a comprehensive, binding agreement for the filling and operation of the GERD reservoir are “fair” and a “matter of Arab consensus”.
The Security Council is set to hold a session on Thursday at the request of Egypt and Sudan over the GERD dispute.