Egypt urges UN to back call for binding deal on Ethiopia dam

Egypt’s foreign minister said Wednesday he will urge the U.N. Security Council to require Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to negotiate a binding agreement within six months on the contentious issue of water availability from the dam that the Ethiopians are building on the main tributary of the Nile River.

Sameh Shukry said in an interview with The Associated Press that 10 years of negotiations over the hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile have failed to ensure that water will continue to flow downstream in sufficient amounts to Sudan and to Egypt, where 100 million people are dependent on the river as their sole source of water.

Shukry said Egypt and Sudan called for a Security Council meeting in light of “the existential threat” to the people of both countries from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He also cited Ethiopia’s decision to start a second filling of the dam’s reservoir, which he said violates a 2015 agreement.

The Security Council is scheduled to meet Thursday and will hear from Shukry, Sudan’s foreign minister and Ethiopia’s water minister as well as its 15 member nations. It will be briefed by U.N. special envoy for the Horn of Africa Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, U.N. environment chief Inger Andersen and a diplomat from Congo, which holds the African Union presidency.