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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Map of Lebanon

    Provides information about Lebanon, including key events and facts about a country which has often been at the centre of Middle Eastern conflicts

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  2. Tunisia says Covid-19 situation is 'catastrophic'

    Tunisian municipality employees seen carrying a casket of a COVID-19 victim at the regional hospital

    The Covid-19 situation in Tunisia has reached "catastrophic" levels, according to government officials, causing its health system to collapse.

    Tunisia reported almost 10.000 cases and 134 deaths on Tuesday - a record high.

    Field hospitals have been established to deal with the crisis, but the health ministry says these are not enough.

    Health workers in the country are fatigued. Bodies of virus victims are left in beds because of a lack of staff to move them.

    "We are struggling to provide oxygen," ministry spokesperson Nisaf Ben Alaya said.

    Six regions in the country are under total lockdown.

    Virus cases in different countries in Africa are increasing, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning the "worst is still to come".

    Vaccination remains low in the continent but the WHO is optimistic that donations from the US and other countries through the Covax initiative will help countries boost vaccination campaigns.

  3. UN backs AU's efforts to mediate Nile dam row

    Protestors march down 42nd Street in New York during a "It's my Dam" protest on March 11, 2021,
    Image caption: Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been deadlocked in talks over the Nile dam for years

    Members of the UN Security Council have backed the African Union (AU)’s mediation efforts on the Nile dam row between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

    The members on Thursday asked the three countries to resume negotiations, which have yielded little progress since they began a decade ago.

    Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said the negotiations should be held under the leadership of the AU and should recommence with urgency.

    “We believe that the African Union is the most appropriate venue to address this dispute, and the US is committed to providing political and technical support,” she told the UN forum.

    “A balanced and equitable solution to the filling and operation of the [Nile dam] can be reached with political commitment from all parties,” she added.

    The European Union said the AU-led talks needed “to be intensified” adding that it was ready to support the negotiations as observers working with the UN and the US.

    Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian representative to the UN, proposed that the three parties should meet while in New York to try to resolve the issues.

    Egypt and Sudan had called on the Security Council to help resolve the row after Ethiopia informed them that the second-stage filling of the dam had begun.

    They wanted the council to push for a binding agreement over the filling and operation of the dam.

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  4. Egypt and Sudan pushing for UN resolution on Nile dam

    People on a protest about the dam
    Image caption: Ethiopians have staged many protests in response at what they see as Egypt's interference in their dam

    Egypt wants the UN Security Council to push for Ethiopia to enter into a binding agreement within the next six months over the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s dam on the Blue Nile, the AP news agency reports.

    A decade of negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have failed to reach a final agreement.

    Egypt – which almost entirely relies on the Nile for its water supply – wants Ethiopia to guarantee a specific volume of water. The new hydroelectric dam will supply 65 million Ethiopians with power and the country says it’s vital for its development.

    The UN Security Council is due to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam later on Thursday.

    A draft resolution by Tunisia and seen by AP urges Ethiopia “to refrain from continuing to unilaterally fill” the dam’s reservoir and calls on Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia “to refrain from making any statements, or taking any action that may jeopardize the negotiation process”.

    It also says the deal must ensure “Ethiopia’s ability to generate hydropower ... while preventing the inflicting of significant harm on the water security of downstream states”.

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  5. Ethiopia urges UN to ‘respect’ AU-led talks on dam

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Ethiopia dam on the Blue Nile
    Image caption: The Security Councii is due to meet to discuss tensions over the dam

    Ethiopia has called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to respect the AU-led tripartite negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd), saying the issue "does not fall" under its mandate, according to a statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued on Wednesday.

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    "The latest attempts made by Sudan and Egypt to take the Gerd issue to the UN Peace and security Council by mobilising the League of the Arab states [Arab League] would unnecessarily internationalise and securitise the matter.

    "It also leaves a dangerous precedent and takes the negotiations away from the African Union," Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said.

    Ethiopia has in the past criticised Sudan and Egypt for seeking to involve mediators outside the AU in the dam talks.

    The UN Security Council is due to meet on Thursday to discuss tensions over the dam.

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