Egypt may take Nile dam dispute with Ethiopia to UN

Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam is constructed in Guba Woreda


January 20, 2014

After all attempts to solve the Egyptian-Ethiopian crisis over the Renaissance Dam at the negotiating table ended in failure after a third round of negotiations on Jan. 4, with Egypt withdrawing from the discussions and conferences being held in Khartoum, there is now talk at the governmental level about internationalizing the issue. At the same time, Egypt is witnessing rising popular demands to resort to the UN Security Council to establish Egypt’s right to veto the establishment of the Renaissance Dam, given the potential danger it represents to Egyptian water security.

Khalid Wasif, the official spokesman for the minister of irrigation and water resources, revealed to Al-Monitor that Egypt has “begun to explore international channels for setting up alternative diplomatic and political tracks to ward off the dangers that might afflict the country if the Renaissance Dam is built, in light of the announced specifications of the dam.” He emphasized, “Egypt will not allow the dam to be built and will move to rally international pressure to prevent it from being funded. Moreover, Cairo will work [to secure] a public declaration by the international community rejecting the dam’s completion, in the absence of [Ethiopian] guarantees that Egypt and Egyptians will not suffer any loss in water security, nor will the other states of the Nile Basin. Egypt has rights guaranteed by international law and agreements, which the Ethiopian side is not respecting.”

Wasif added, “According to existing agreements governing the river — which require upriver states to notify Egypt in advance and obtain its consent prior to embarking on any projects that would affect the Nile sources — Egypt’s is the stronger legal position. Yet, Egypt has nevertheless insisted upon resolving the issue in a friendly manner, through reciprocal dialogue with the Ethiopian side, devoid of any escalation. But the government in Addis Ababa has shown no appreciation for this fact. Thus, Egypt has refused to continue the latest Khartoum meetings, given Ethiopia’s insistence on not providing the necessary guarantees that Egypt’s share of the water supply will remain secure.”

Rida al-Dimak, the director of the Center for Water Projects at Cairo University’s Engineering College, told Al-Monitor, “The development of alternative supplies of water must be accelerated, to replace the water that will be lost as a result of the construction of the Renaissance Dam. Foremost among these alternative sources is the exchange of wellspring [water] with the [Democratic Republic of the] Congo, transferring water from the Congo River to the Nile, so as to guarantee that the amount of water available to Egypt remains constant.”

Dimak warned against the completion of the Renaissance Dam according to its current specifications, stating that it would constitute a violation of human rights. The social and environmental effects, he explained, must be taken into consideration whenever a new water project is built, in accordance with inviolable international conventions. Some international reports have confirmed that the Ethiopian dam will result in a shortage of drinking water and destruction of a great deal of Egyptian agricultural land. This, he states, provides the foundation for Egypt’s right to object to the dam in international forums.

For his part, former Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Muhammad Nasr al-Din Allam said in an interview with Al-Monitor that the Egyptian government no longer has any alternative but to move quickly to take steps toward international escalation. The first of these, he states, should be to lodge an official protest against the government in Addis Ababa, formally declaring Egypt’s rejection of the project.

“This right is guaranteed to us by old agreements signed and recognized internationally, and which were conditioned upon notifying Egypt in advance before any Nile-related project was established. This protest ought to be followed by the lodging of an official complaint with the UN to establish Egypt’s position and [remonstrate against] Ethiopian intransigence, as well as to formally demand the formation of an international fact-finding committee to study the points of disagreement between Egypt and Ethiopia. These points include the dam’s capacity, the period of time needed to fill it, [details concerning its] operation, the project’s unsound and unsafe construction and the lack of rigorous Ethiopian studies demonstrating that the dam is not vulnerable to collapse, something that would have disastrous consequences for both Egypt and Sudan,” Allam noted.

Allam stressed the need for Egypt to demand that construction on the Ethiopian dam be halted at once, until the fact-finding committee completes its work. According to Allam, this would require “a period of, at most, three to six months.” Moreover, he added, “A copy of the committee’s report should be brought before the UN, to demonstrate the damage that the dam would wreak upon Egypt, which should then head to the Security Council.”

In an interview with the daily El Fagr on Jan. 9, Ayman Salama, an Egyptian expert in international law, stressed that the Egyptian government would be justified in taking its case to the UN Security Council, even though “one cannot adopt international arbitration to settle the crisis, since that would require the assent of both parties to the conflict to adopt this formulation of crisis resolution. The Ethiopian government has indicated that it will be highly intransigent on this issue. International arbitration has therefore become extremely unlikely. But Egypt might be able to turn to the Security Council. This, however, would require the preparation of a file containing documented facts of legal and material evidence of the harm that this dam would incur, both to Egypt and to its vital interests. The issue must be shown to threaten the peace and security of the two countries. [If successful], a number of measures could then be taken by the Security Council to compel Ethiopia to meet Egyptian demands.”

Egypt’s National Defense Council has already held an emergency session on Jan. 8, headed by President Adly Mansour and dedicated to reviewing internal developments and the domestic Egyptian security situation. With the irrigation and water resources minister in attendance, the council also examined the latest developments concerning Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam and the steps being taken on that front to preserve Egyptian water security. It also noted the steps devoted to reducing or eliminating any negative effects that the soon-to-be-built dam might have on Egypt or the other states of the Nile Basin. The council also stressed that Egypt’s water rights must not be squandered, and that it would not accept any undermining of Egyptian national security.

These steps, and Egyptian moves toward international escalation and the internationalization of the Renaissance Dam crisis, follow years of Egyptian insistence upon solving the crisis through mutual dialogue at the negotiating table.

Source: Al-Monitor

3 thoughts on “Egypt may take Nile dam dispute with Ethiopia to UN

  1. Alie Assefa I like your answer. It’s well said. With God Of Israel’s, Our Lord, Adonai help, we will finish it.

  2. that ur false stetment embody is it comes .u lose ur chance .that mean only ur way one things .that is negotiant with ethio . ur negative is neither . so forget that ur old FASCISM. frist before u come on table for agreement eliminate ur old erstwhile Propaganda .this generation is it doesn.t go back .because this is. 2oTH centuries .think more like the time is like that. anyway STOP ur false explanation for world media .nobody scare ur false journal ?ETHIO IS UNDER CONTROL OF GOD .THATWAY WE PROUD.GOD IS GREAT<3

  3. So, let’s take a look at Satan’s strategies against God’s people in Nehemiah chapter 4:

    The First Attack is found in:
    Nehemiah 4:1-3 — When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stonesback to life from those heaps of rubble— burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”
    The first attack against God’s people rebuilding the wall was verbal.
    Sanballat and his barkada began by mocking the workers in Jerusalem and attacking their confidence:
    “What are those feeble Jews doing?”
    “Hey! Are you gonna finish that wall today?”
    “Nice wall! I hope the wind doesn’t get any stronger!”
    Did you ever know someone like this?
    A bully in school?
    Someone who was always putting others down to make themselves feel bigger?

    Does Satan attack you like this?
    Someone who doesn’t like you says mean things to you or about you:
    “Hey, pangit.”
    Or maybe it’s your own friends or family.
    “Tamad ka!”
    Or maybe they talk about you, but to other people and you just hear about it later.
    King David was familiar with the verbal attacks of Satan:
    Psalm 64:2-4 — Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from that noisy crowd of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent man; they shoot at him suddenly, without fear.

    Well, however it happens, what’s your response when Satan attacks you with words?
    Well, let’s look at what Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem did:

    First of all, they Prayed.

    Look at:
    Nehemiah 4:4-5 — Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.

    Here’s the principle that we can learn from Nehemiah:
    When people talk against you, don’t talk back — talk to God.

    You see, Nehemiah was Governor of Judah —
    he had the power and authority to punish anyone he wanted!
    He was the personal servant of King Artaxerxes.
    If he wanted to punish these mockers, no one could stop him.
    But he didn’t.
    When they talked against him, he talked to God.

    The second thing the people in chapter 4 did when Satan attacked them is:
    They continued the work.
    Nehemiah 4:6 — So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
    It’s not always easy to do the Lord’s work.
    Sometimes it’s very difficult to do the work of God.
    But the most difficult time to do the work of God is when someone is mocking you or laughing at you.
    And this is exactly why Satan uses verbal attacks against God’s people.
    And his goal is to destroy us.
    But even if he doesn’t destroy us, if he can distract us enough that we stop doing God’s work, then Satan is still satisfied.

    But, despite all of Satan’s verbal abuse in chapter 4, the people of God continued to work.

    So, Satan had to make another attack
    The Second Attack of Satan against God’s people was:
    Physical Opposition to the Work; physical violence

    Nehemiah 4:7-8 — But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
    v. 11 — Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
    You know, Satan is a violent creature:

    1 Peter 5:8 — Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
    1 Corinthians 5:5 — hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed…
    Revelation 12:12 — …Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.

    Satan is a violent creature: He devours and destroys people and he is filled with fury.
    When his verbal attack against God’s people failed and the work of God continued,
    Satan increased his attack.
    He attacked them with physical violence.
    Sanballat, Tobiah and the others didn’t know that they were being used by Satan, but they were.
    So they got their weapons ready and made their plans to kill Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem.

    And what was the Response of God’s People this time?
    They prayed, stuck together, helped each other, and continued the work.

    First of all, when this new attack came at them, they prayed.
    Nehemiah 4:9 — But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

    You know, we always say that prayer comes first,
    but too often we find that we’ve already made a decision, or we’ve already responded to a situation,
    or we’ve already taken some action and then we remember that we forgot to pray first.
    Now, notice that I didn’t say “Pray only.”
    I said “Pray first.”
    We need to pray, yes — but we also need to act.
    verse 9 said: we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
    This is the second response of God’s people:
    After they prayed, they made sure to help one another.
    Nehemiah 4:12-20 — Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
    Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
    After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
    When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
    >From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
    Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
    Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
    verse 4:22 — At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

    When Satan attacked the people of God in Jerusalem, they stuck together and helped each other.
    As I said earlier, Satan is not as powerful as God, but he is still powerful.
    In order to defeat him, God’s people need to stick together and help each other.
    There’s an old saying that says: “United we conquer. Divided we fall.”
    And that’s true — if we are divided and each of us is trying to resist Satan all by ourselves, we will fail.
    But if we’ll stick together and help one another like the people of Jerusalem did,
    We will overcome the attacks of Satan.
    And the third response of God’s people to this physical attack of Satan is that they CONTINUED THE WORK.
    Nehemiah 4:21 — So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
    It wasn’t easy.
    Their work force was cut in half because half the workers had to be used as guards,
    But they never gave up the work!
    And remember: the reason why Satan attacks God’s people is to destroy us.
    But even if he doesn’t destroy us, if he can distract us enough that we stop doing God’s work, then he is still satisfied.

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