CAIRO — The Arab overseas ministers held a unprecedented assembly June 15 and known as on the United Nations Security Council to convene an pressing assembly to debate the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), whereas expressing concern in regards to the stalled negotiations at the moment sponsored by the African Union (AU).
Egyptian and Sudanese diplomats and specialists informed Al-Monitor that this was the primary time that Arabs took a stand to stress Ethiopia within the GERD situation, in anticipation of internationalizing it as soon as once more on the Security Council.
Prior to the Arab overseas ministers’ assembly, Cairo and Khartoum had addressed letters to the Security Council to clarify the developments within the GERD file, and to object to Ethiopia’s intentions to move ahead with the second filling of the dam’s reservoir with out reaching an settlement on the GERD’s filling and operation with the 2 downstream international locations.
The assembly held within the Qatari capital, Doha, within the presence of 17 Arab overseas ministers, mentioned the GERD situation after negotiations with Ethiopia reached a useless finish within the final spherical of talks held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on April 4-5.
Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit introduced throughout a press convention after the assembly, “Arab countries strongly support the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan].”
However, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry objected to the Arab League assertion, and mentioned in a assertion, “The Arab League has already squandered its opportunity to play a constructive role as a result of its blatant support for the false allegations of Egypt and Sudan regarding the GERD.”
In March 2020, the Arab League adopted a draft decision submitted by Cairo, to reject any unilateral measures by which Ethiopia proceeds within the GERD. But this time the Arab assertion mirrored the unity of Arab positions, in accordance with Maged Abdel Fattah, head of the Arab League mission to the UN. “The position of Arab countries has shifted; Sudan is lined up with Egypt, and Djibouti and Somalia did not have any reservations regarding the statement, unlike the previous session in June 2020,” he informed Al-Monitor.
Abdel Fattah famous that the Arab group fashioned to observe up on the difficulty — which incorporates Tunisia (the Arab member of the Security Council), Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Morocco in addition to the General Secretariat of the Arab League — will start to satisfy with members of the Security Council, specifically the everlasting members, to tell them of the Egyptian and Sudanese place on the GERD situation.
He added that resorting to the Security Council at the moment goals to reap the benefits of the change that occurred throughout the world, with South Africa, Germany and Belgium not being members. These international locations, he mentioned, didn’t assist the Egyptian place. They had been changed by Ireland, Norway and Kenya, which have extra ties with the Arabs.
However, sure challenges await Cairo if the GERD situation is internationalized once more on the Security Council for the reason that creating international locations mustn’t embrace water and local weather growth points within the Security Council’s discussions, whereas the AU is technically nonetheless in command of the negotiations, Abdel Fattah defined.
“We will now have to wait and see if Cairo will cooperate with Khartoum to present a new draft resolution, or if it will adopt its previous decision submitted to the Security Council in 2020,” he famous.
Egypt and Sudan have been engaged in powerful negotiations with Ethiopia over the GERD for a decade now to reach an settlement on working and filling the dam, which Egypt considers an existential risk.
Former Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Mohammed Morsi informed Al-Monitor that no such choice has been taken up to now on the Arab degree in the case of the GERD situation, in reference to the newest Arab League assertion.
However, he famous that the affect of the assertion will rely upon whether or not or not the Arab international locations, particularly the Gulf states, will stress the members of the Security Council to ensure it should convene, then give you a decision that meets the minimal calls for of Egypt and Sudan.
“Most importantly, Gulf countries need to use their economic influence on Ethiopia to urge it to be more flexible in the GERD issue,” Morsi added.
During a press convention after the Doha assembly, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman mentioned, “The Arab League may also take gradual measures to support Egypt and Sudan in the dispute over the dam.” The subsequent day, on June 16, the Gulf Cooperation Council international locations voiced their rejection of any Ethiopian measures that have an effect on Egypt’s and Sudan’s water rights.
Rakha Ahmed Hassan, a member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, informed Al-Monitor that the Arab reactions come as a part of diplomatic stress by which Egypt and Sudan search to push Ethiopia to barter critically.
“Such actions greatly disturb Ethiopia and put it under pressure, because they serve the interests of Egypt and Sudan,” he mentioned.
“It seems that there is an international and regional tendency to give another chance to negotiations and the mediators of the AU and the United States, while some Arab countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia may play a role in moving the negotiations forward,” Hassan added.
Sudanese analyst Ammar Awad informed Al-Monitor that the Arab League assertion displays a unified Arab place to assist Sudan and Egypt in case the GERD situation is reinternationalized on the Security Council. “The statement also has a moral aspect that shows that Arab and Arab-African peoples care about the danger threatening Sudan and Egypt,” he mentioned.
Awad famous, “The negotiation path did not lead to a solution, and the recent efforts by the AU, United States and European Union mediators failed to bring all parties back to the negotiation table, although the date of the second filling is approaching.”
Speaking to Al-Monitor, William Davison, a researcher on the International Crisis Group, dominated out the opportunity of the Security Council discussing the GERD situation. “Even if that happens, it is not clear what action the members of the council can agree on since it is a recent security issue.”
He mentioned, “I expect diplomatic tensions [between the three countries] to increase over the second filling that Ethiopia is preparing to move forward with despite the absence of an agreement, which will be faced by opposition on Sudan’s and Egypt’s part.”
The greatest concern, in accordance with Davison, is the difficulty turning into an ongoing pressure such because the border dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia, which could result in elevated efforts by all events to destabilize one another by proxy conflicts, within the absence of different choices to affect Ethiopia.