Egypt: UN Security Council Supports African Union Effort to End Nile Dam Dispute

Following their Thursday meeting to consider the dispute between Sudan, Egypt and Addis Ababa over the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the United Nations Security Council has pledged full support for African Union efforts to mediate in the dispute over water rights along the Blue Nile.

Egypt and Sudan called for the intervention of the UN Security Council after Ethiopia earlier this week began filling the reservoir behind the now-completed hydroelectric dam on the Nile.

The two downstream nations have complained about the probable impact of the project on their access to Nile waters since construction began a decade ago.

"A fair and balanced solution to the problems of filling the reservoir and the use of the dam can be found, provided there's a proper political commitment by all parties," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, after Thursday's Security Council deliberations.

She went on to say that negotiations should resume under African Union chairmanship, as soon as possible.

Ethiopia cliams that the dam is a crucial element in the country's economic development.

Sudan and Egypt are concerned about the impact on their supply of Nile waters, for irrigation, drinking water and their own hydroelectric projects.

Cairo's Foreign Minister, Sameh Choukri, has described the Renaissance Dam as "an existential threat" to Egypt. Choukri has also criticised the handling of the dispute by the African Union, saying the AU talks are stuck in a dead end.

Egypt is favourable to a Tunisian proposition which suggests that the filling of the reservoir should be suspended for six months, during which time contentious issues, notably procedures in case of prolonged drought, should be thrashed out between the parties.

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