Security Council: First Report, I’ll be dammed

The Security Council was faced with the topic of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile river this afternoon. Ethiopia is pressing ahead with construction of a major new dam on the River Nile, despite stiff opposition from Egypt. The press entered the session today to record an increasingly bitter water dispute.

The United Kingdom started the debate highlighting that all the countries need to identify what the sources of the Nile are, and to set a ‘line box’ decision, inviting other nations to create an agreement where all stakeholders could be involved. The discussion forged ahead when Ethiopia proposed a motion about the implications of the 1959 agreements – a topic that only Egypt objected to. It came as a great surprise to see the United Kingdom recognise the exclusion of countries from the 1929 treaty, not least on account of the unlikely alliance between the UK and China on the issue of redistributing the water of the region.

The biggest surprise however was to see Egypt – a nation which considered an airstrike against the dam under President Mubarak in 2010 and vowed to ‘defend each drop of Nile water with our blood if necessary’ under President Morsi in 2013 – claim that it was not against the dam or the renegotiation of the water rights that Egypt has claimed since the early twentieth  century, provided that doing so does not adversely affect the citizens of Egypt.

It will be necessary to await a clearer statement of the position of members of the European Union, as these countries are collectively a major contributor concerning economic and human aid.

Rumours hold that a resolution could be prepared as early as this afternoon.


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