Ethiopia must respect Nile rights of Egypt, Sudan

The Arab League said on Tuesday that it supports the rights of Egypt and Sudan in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute, warning Ethiopia about rising tensions over the issue.

It also said that Ethiopia “must deal rationally” to protect Egyptian and Sudanese rights in the dispute.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the body, expressed his appreciation of the role played by the African Union in sponsoring negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia regarding GERD.

“We hope that these negotiations will lead to their desired goal, which is to reach a legal, binding and fair agreement that takes into account the interests of all parties and organizes the process of filling and operating the dam, preserving the water rights of Egypt and Sudan,” he said during the ninth General Cooperation meeting between the African Union Commission and the League of Arab States.

“Ethiopia must deal rationally to ensure the rights of Sudan and Egypt in the waters of the Nile. The Arab League has a resolution to support the rights of Egypt and Sudan in the waters of the Nile,” he added.

Ethiopia had accused Egypt and Sudan of obstructing negotiations and responded to rumors of an imminent conflict over Nile waters.

“The prediction about the outbreak of a war over the waters of the Nile is wrong … it is a factor in strengthening and developing the Nile Basin countries,” Ethiopian Minister of Irrigation Seleshi Bekele said in statements to Al-Jazeera.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the six-party meeting held on Jan. 10 to discuss the dam failed to achieve any progress, while Sudan warned that discussions cannot continue indefinitely, given the threat posed by the dam.

The Sudanese government also warned against a second filling of the dam before an agreement is reached. The country said it cannot accept the imposition of a de facto policy that threatens the safety of 20 million Sudanese citizens who depend on the Blue Nile.

Sudan stressed the need for a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the dam that preserves and takes into account the interests of all three parties.

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