Report

UNSC to Meet on GERD Dispute… What are the Expected Outcomes?

Sputnik – BL

The United Nations Security Council will likely meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss a dispute between Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

This step came after the failure of all the attempts to Sudan and Egypt to reach a final legal agreement with Ethiopia on the issue.

Sputnik correspondents in Khartoum investigated some experts and analysis on the issue by asking what are the resolutions expected to come out from the UNSC meeting following the shuttle moves of the Sudanese foreign minister in some African and European states to get support for Sudan’s stance; and whether Russia will intervene in favor of Sudan especially after the recent contacts between Sudanese foreign minister with her Russian counterpart.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is pinning its hopes of economic development and power generation on the dam, 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.

Sudanese experts said that the Sudanese diplomacy has succeeded to some extent in internationalizing the ongoing dispute, stressing that the UNSC meeting is a step forward in favor of Sudan and Egypt.

Sudanese expert and political analyst Muawad Rashid said in a statement to “Sputnik” that the most that the UNSC can come out with are to urge the parties concerned with the issue of GERD to resume the talks to reach consensual formula or legal agreement.

On the contact between Sudan and Russia, Rashid said that Russia’s position would not deviate from supporting the issue of urging the parties to resume their talks to reach consensual formula on the issue of the second filling.

Rashid continued:” I do not think that there will be a vote on a binding resolution and even if that happens Russia will abstain to preserve its interests with the three countries.

Rashid downplayed the possibility of Ethiopia making concessions amid its current internal tension, affirming that the internal conditions in Ethiopia will not compel the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to make concessions, because the Ethiopian government deals with its internal issue in a manner that doesn’t affect its negotiating position.

Rashid concluded that there are still some hopes that the AU mechanisms will be able to encourage the parties to return to the negotiations table in an attempt to strike an agreed-on deal.

In the same context, Editor-in-Chief of Sudanese Voice newspaper, Mohammed Abdallah told Sputnik that the diplomatic moves of the Sudanese foreign minister succeeded in calling the USNC to the meeting; but he said that such disputes can be resolved regionally.

On Sudan’s asking for the support of Russia, Abdallah said that Russia can play an important role in this regard with its influence on many issues, and since it is one of the permanent members in the UNSC it is expected from Russia to support Sudan in the meeting.

Abdallah continued: “In general, the UNSC meeting might not come out with a decision to pressure on Ethiopia, but a non-binding statement can be issued to urge Ethiopia not to fill the GERD before reaching an agreement that satisfies all parties.

On the other hand, Sudanese journalist Mazin Salah El-Sayed told Sputnik that the UNSC meeting will conclude with almost complete agreement.

On the Russian intervention El-Sayed said that since Sudan has suspended the procedures related to the Russian logistic base in Port Sudan, Russia will have its reservation in supporting Sudan’s stances.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD is under construction on the Blue Nile River, which is located about 40km east of Sudan. The project is owned by Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO).

“A tripartite committee was formed in 2012 to promote understanding and look into the benefits and impacts the project would have on the three countries.”

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project is expected to be completed by July 2017. The people and Government of Ethiopia are funding the project, which will not only serve Ethiopia but Sudan and Egypt as well. The latter two countries depend on the Nile River for their water although 85% of the river flows in Ethiopia.

A tripartite committee was formed in January 2012 to promote understanding and look into the benefits and impacts the project would have on the three countries.

The dispute over the GERD is part of a long-standing feud between Egypt and Sudan—the downstream states—on the one hand, and Ethiopia and the upstream riparians on the other over access to the Nile’s waters, which are considered a lifeline for millions of people living in Egypt and Sudan

Successive negotiation rounds, which started 10 years ago, between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate

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