Sudan has asked the United Nations Security Council to meet and discuss a dispute over a giant dam being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile.
Ethiopia is pinning its hopes of economic development and power generation on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), while the two downstream countries – Egypt and Sudan – are concerned about it and seeking a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Egypt relies on the Nile River for as much as 90 percent of its fresh water and sees the dam as an existential threat.
Sudan is concerned about the operation of its own Nile dams and water stations.
On Tuesday, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi called on the Security Council to hold a session as soon as possible to discuss GERD and “its impact on the safety and security of millions of people”, a government statement said.
In a letter, al-Mahdi called on the council head to urge Ethiopia to stop the “unilateral” filling of the dam “which exacerbates the dispute and poses a threat to regional and international peace and security”, the statement added.
Ethiopian officials have not commented on the letter yet.
Earlier this month, Sudan and Egypt agreed to work together on all levels to push Ethiopia to negotiate “seriously” on an agreement, after African Union-sponsored talks remained deadlocked.
The two countries called on the international community to intervene.
Arab states have called on the Security Council to discuss the dispute and Ethiopia’s plans to go ahead with the second filling of the dam this summer even without an agreement with Sudan and Egypt.
Ethiopia has rejected the Arab League resolution in its entirety.
Arab League envoy to the UN, Maged Abdel Fattah, said on Tuesday evening that Sudan and Egypt are working on a draft resolution to the Security Council on GERD if Ethiopia does not reach a deal.
Arab states will lobby for the draft resolution to be approved, Fattah told the Egyptian TV channel Sada Elbalad, adding that he does not expect world powers to block it.
Ethiopia previously rejected calls from Egypt and Sudan to involve mediators outside the African Union.
Sudan said earlier in June that it was open to a partial interim agreement on the multibillion-dollar dam, with specific conditions.