Tunisia pushes urgent UN Security Council resolution urging Ethiopia to stop Nile dam filling
Tunisia has called on the UN Security Council to meet on Thursday to discuss Egypt and Sudan's bitter dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile, after Ethiopia announced that it had begun a controversial second filling of the dam's reservoir.
Tunisia has also submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council calling on Ethiopia to halt its filling of the Nile dam's reservoir.
A diplomatic source told AFP that Tunisia called the meeting at the request of Egypt and Sudan, who have both condemned Ethiopia's Monday announcement that it had unilaterally begun to fill the dam.
Both countries have urged Ethiopia to sign a binding deal over the operation of the dam and the filling of its reservoir.
Ethiopia has resisted this, accusing Egypt and Sudan of trying to "monopolise" the Nile. Addis Ababa has also accused other Arab countries of "meddling" in the issue.
The text of the draft Tunisian resolution, which was seen by AFP, calls on the three countries to resume negotiations and to finalise the details of an agreement on filling within six months.
It urges the "three countries to refrain from making any statements, or taking any action that may jeopardize the negotiation process, and urges Ethiopia to refrain from continuing to unilaterally fill the GERD reservoir."
However, France's ambassador to the UN said last week that the council itself can do little apart from bringing all the sides together and "encourage them to get back to the negotiations".
No date has been set for the draft resolution vote and diplomatic sources have said it is unlikely it will be as early as Thursday's meeting.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in an earlier note to the UN that negotiations are at an impasse, and accused Ethiopia of adopting "a policy of intransigence that undermined our collective endeavours to reach an agreement."
Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart, Mariam al-Mahdi, met in New York ahead of the Security Council talks and reiterated their "firm rejection" of Ethiopia's move, Cairo said.
Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have been icy over the past decade as a result of the construction of the GERD, while tensions have also risen between Ethiopia and Sudan as the Tigray conflict has sent refugees fleeing across the border into Sudan.
Egypt depends on the Nile for over 90% of its water needs and fears that the GERD will severely reduce its water supply, with potentially catastrophic consequences, while Sudan says that the GERD could affect the operation of its own dams on the Nile and expose millions of its citizens to the risk of flooding.