Tunisia intends to submit a new draft resolution to the UN Security Council (UNSC), urging Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia to resume talks in order to reach a binding agreement on the construction and operation of a massive hydropower dam on the Blue Nile.
The UN’s 15-member body met on July 7 to discuss the stalled talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), but declined to adopt a draft resolution circulated by Tunisia, a UNSC non-permanent member expressed.
Tunisia is working on resubmitting its draft resolution on the GERD, according to Ethiopian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Redwan Hussein, who told ambassadors from the Nile River riparian countries in Addis Ababa. “The meeting noted that Tunisia’s ongoing preparation to submit its inappropriate request again to the UNSC would put all riparian countries in a difficult position that necessitates cooperation to reverse it,” said a statement released by the Ethiopian foreign ministry.
The Tunisian draft resolution called for the resumption of African Union-mediated talks to finalize a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD within six months. The draft resolution also stated that any agreement reached should ensure that the GERD does not cause “significant harm to downstream states’ water security.”
The draft resolution was described by Ethiopia as an unhelpful move that would jeopardize the tripartite talks, adding that Ethiopia “would never accept it.” Furthermore, Ethiopia has voiced its concerns about the subject being brought up to the UNSC in the first place.
The second draft resolution was confirmed by diplomats in Khartoum, but no further details were provided. Sudan wants a legally binding agreement on water data exchange to protect its Blue Nile facilities, while Egypt is concerned that the massive dam will reduce the amount of water reaching the Nile River.
Kenya, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, opposed the Tunisian draft resolution in support of Ethiopia, according to Addis Ababa.