Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani said yesterday that his country would support “brotherly Arab countries” with regards to Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam crisis.
Speaking to reporters after an Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting held in Doha to discuss the dam crisis, the Qatari diplomat said the meeting urged mediators to ensure that no unilateral steps that would harm Egypt or Sudan are taken and stressed on the need for signing a legally binding deal on the dam that preserves the rights of all parties.
Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said the Arab countries are calling on the Security Council to hold a session to discuss Addis Ababa’s plan for the second filling of the dam without an accord with Cairo and Khartoum.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been negotiating for nearly ten years to resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis without reaching a solution.
Negotiations between the three countries stalled in April after Addis Ababa refused a request by Cairo and Khartoum to include the US, the EU, and the UN in mediation talks.
Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan it says will provide the country with much-needed electricity and economic regeneration. Egypt believes it will restrict its access to Nile waters.
Egypt is almost entirely dependent on Nile water, receiving around 55.5 million cubic metres a year from the river, and believes that filling the dam will affect the water it needs for drinking, agriculture and electricity.
Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn’t and issued a statement to this effect.