CAIRO - 20 July 2020: Egypt demands the international community to carry out its responsibilities in the case of the Renaissance Dam, by going to the United Nations and the Security Council, in order to play an effective role in the intervention and bear the responsibility for "avoiding any form of tension and maintaining international peace and security", according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Previously.
Egypt has submitted a formal note to the Security Council - under Article 35 of the Charter - that puts the international community before its responsibilities, and could give Egypt the legal basis for resorting to "several mechanisms" or "other scenarios"; To defend its water rights, after overthrowing all the official sections defined by the United Nations Charter.
1- The main determinants of Egyptian Policies
It is certain that the talk about the Renaissance Dam is of great importance issues during the next stage according to the apparent stumbling in the negotiations, after more than five years of direct negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan, and the failure of the various committees that were formed over the past period to reach any positive results , Which prompted Egypt to publicly acknowledge the futility of the negotiation process so far with the importance of searching for new alternatives.
Here we find that there are three main determinants that it is necessary to point out before delving into the dimensions of the issue of the Egyptian move to the Security Council and the available paths for action.:
- The issue of the Renaissance Dam represents a main part of Egyptian national security, and therefore the movement of the Egyptian state in this field is a move of great importance, and depends on calculated steps and deliberate measures. Hence, there is no room here for emotional decisions or unwanted movements, which is Which the political leadership is keen on making sure that its movement is linked to an objective framework and within the framework of international conventions.
- The issue of the Renaissance Dam with all its components and stages has become a reality, and therefore we have no choice but to deal with it from this standpoint in order to reach acceptable logical solutions that preserve our water security, especially since the Nile River provides Egypt with about 95% of its water sources. .
- That Egypt did not object to Ethiopia building the Renaissance Dam or any dams that would contribute to supporting Ethiopian economic development, but on the condition that this would not harm Egypt's water share guaranteed to us by international laws related to the use and management of international rivers and previous agreements that Ethiopia is trying to Ignore it and not recognize it.
Egypt has made many reservations about the criteria that Ethiopia announced to build the dam, and without entering into technical and procedural details, we point out that the most important of these reservations was the need to review the question of the rules for filling and operating the dam, as Egypt demands that the filling period lasts up to seven years instead Three or four years, as Ethiopia demands, especially if this Ethiopian demand is fulfilled, this will lead to a shortage of water flowing into Egypt annually by about 9 - 15 billion cubic meters (we note here that Egypt's share of the Nile water is 55 billion meters Cubic annually), and this deficiency will have consecutive negative effects on electricity generation and agriculture in Egypt in varying proportions, and at the same time, there were also Egyptian reservations about some technical aspects related to the dam's security, but Ethiopia did not cooperate with the demands received from it by the International Committee of Experts Related to this. "
2- Goals of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry inside the Security Council:
It seems that Egypt is seeking to obtain either "recommendations" from the Security Council - under Chapter VI - that strengthens its position "internationally" and can move accordingly, and rely on it in the coming scenarios and options that Cairo can resort to, or obtain a "binding resolution" within Chapter Seven.
In this context, we can confirm that the Security Council can - under Chapter VI - make recommendations, (it is true that they are not binding), but those recommendations have moral value, with the legal offer and the course of the file being a strength for Egypt's interest, which can act on it by putting Ethiopia is the locus of the country that is not in compliance with international law.
Likewise, we can say that the recommendations issued by the Security Council must be clear and specific not to act unilaterally through the first filling, and here “If Ethiopia refuses to implement the recommendation and the Security Council has not moved then under Chapter VII (According to endangering security and peace),” Egypt has many mechanisms to defend its water rights. Because, by this, it would have knocked all the official doors defined by the United Nations Charter to settle international disputes, bearing in mind that the main source of water in Egypt from the Nile River is from the Ethiopian plateau, and the dam poses a threat to this source.
3-Egyptian moves after the Security Council:
There are many experts confirm that it is from the legal determinants in theory, to the tools that the Security Council has in that case, since it is in theory. The Security Council has everything, after Egypt’s note, in which it pointed to a threat to international peace and security. The council can discuss the matter and decide on its own, in front of two paths; The first is to deal with the issue under Chapter VII of the Charter, and he decides what he sees until the use of military force, and this is "unlikely"; Given that all the major countries (which have the right of veto) have no interest and will not be directly affected by that crisis mostly, in addition to that the issue is subject to political tensions and the veto can be used from any of the five permanent members of the Security Council, in the interest of Ethiopia, this is if studied The Security Council has effectively reached the crisis and concluded that there is a threat to international peace and security.
The second track is to deal with the issue according to Chapter Six, which gives the Council the right to issue "recommendations" similar to the United Nations General Assembly, and it recommends that the parties resort to the International Court of Justice, or return to the negotiating table to resolve the crisis, or resort to the African Peace and Security Council, and other Of the "recommendations" that are of course not binding on either party. Shawky suggests that the second track will be the candidate in the current period, so that the Council considers the Renaissance Dam crisis in accordance with Chapter Six, through which it recommends the Council what it considers appropriate to resolve the conflict.
4- The African Track
In this context, we confirm Egypt keenness to present this issue to the entire international community, as his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, at its 74th session last September, included that negotiations related to the Renaissance Dam did not reach any results, and that the time has come We have come to international mediation to pressure the parties to show flexibility in their hardline stances, stressing that the issue of water for Egypt is a matter of life and existence.
Consequently, the current period requires a new mechanism to deal with this issue after crossing the international mediation framework in order to reach now to the mechanisms of movement within the framework of regional and international organizations. , Until this problem is finalized so that its solution will be a successful African model for fruitful cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia, and to achieve their mutual interests and not violate the rights of either of them.
Here, Egyptian gradual movements in light of the Egyptian political leadership’s commitment to political contexts at the African and international levels, and the last mini-African summit, the last Friday, and discussed the Ethiopian side’s obligations within the framework of Ethiopia’s unilateral agreement in starting to fill the dam.
The mini summit was called days before the session of the UN Security Council, which will meet on Monday to discuss Egypt's request. The meeting resulted in the postponement of filling the Renaissance Dam for two weeks and forming joint technical committees of technicians and jurists to complete what was agreed upon.
Egypt submitted its note to the Security Council under the sixth item, and this item has only non-binding recommendations, and here the outcome of the scheduled meeting will be recommendations for the parties to the conflict to return to negotiations. Likewise, the last African position at the mini-summit is now before the Security Council, and as long as the crisis or problem is now being discussed in the African Union, the council’s decision will be recommendations to form a committee from the three countries in addition to the secretariat of the council to complete what was agreed upon and finish within two weeks.
Finally, we clarify here as Egypt had given the negotiations a long time to confirm its good intentions and its desire to reach a political solution satisfactory to all, despite the fact that the negotiation process did not reach any results, then we had to move to a new stage of effort and political movement represented in the demand for international mediation And the presence of a third party offers acceptable solutions and exercises a more positive role that ultimately leads to ending this problem and moving it to a stage of codifying common interests and benefits, through regional and international organizations, which is what Egypt continues to adopt and is keen on in all its movements based on the principle The waters of the Nile are a matter of life and existence.
All of the flexible and consistent positions taken by Egypt with the rules of international law and the importance of positive engagement from Ethiopia in order to settle this issue in a fair and balanced manner to the parties concerned and to ensure the sustainability of security and stability in the region. Egypt has also developed all solutions and proposals, among which is the orientation towards effective international organizations, including the Security Council and the African Union, to explain the Egyptian position and the expected effects of the dam. This is what Egyptian diplomacy has always been keen on and Egypt is undertaking by taking peaceful means and legal tracks in resolving disputes in this regard. At the regional level, whether in the Middle East or Africa.
Mohamed Abdelaziem Elchime is an associate Professor of Political science, Helwan University