(Bloomberg) -- Arab foreign ministers declared Egypt and Sudan’s rights to the use of the Nile River a matter of regional security, criticizing Ethiopia’s plan to fill the reservoir of its giant dam with or without an agreement.

The statement, issued Tuesday at an extraordinary Arab League meeting, urged the three African countries to return to negotiations once Ethiopia agrees to delay the filling of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which it’s set to begin in July. The League also welcomed a call by the United Nations for a resumption of talks.

Tussle for Nile Control Escalates as Dam Talks Falter (1)

The latest U.S.-backed negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and mutual neighbor Sudan ended last week with Ethiopia refusing to accept a permanent, minimum volume of water that the dam should release downstream in the event of severe drought. Egypt, which relies on the Nile for almost all its fresh water, has described any filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam without such a deal as illegal.

Ethiopia says that a so-called declaration of principles agreement signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in 2015 allows it to proceed with damming the GERD.

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