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Arab foreign ministers meeting to take place in Doha


Arab foreign ministers meeting to take place in Doha

Dam 2
Photo: Eduardo Soteras/AFP

Top diplomats from Arab states will gather today for a meeting in Doha.

Talks will focus on instability in the Horn of Africa—namely, Egypt and Sudan’s battle against the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Since construction began in 2011, Ethiopia’s management of the GERD and the dam’s subsequent effect on downstream regions has caused tension among the three countries, which are heavily dependent on the Nile River. Egypt and Sudan receive the vast majority of its fresh water reserves from the Nile, while Ethiopia needs the dam to generate electricity.

Expect the diplomats in today’s meeting to push conflict resolution in the Horn of Africa as Arab states’ oil revenues would be jeopardized by conflict across the Bab el-Mandeb strait. After talks facilitated by the African Union collapsed in April, Arab countries will likely push for intervention by the US and EU in support of Egypt’s plea for mediation by the UN Security Council. In the short-term, litigation is likely as Sudan has threatened legal action if Ethiopia proceeds with its planned second filling of the dam’s reservoir in July. With Ethiopia planning to generate electricity from the GERD by August, the issue will likely move to the forefront of Arab states’ foreign policies. 

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