Egypt asked the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) council of ministers for more time to study a report by the council’s special committee addressing Cairo's concerns regarding the Co-operative Framework Agreement (CFA), the initiative said in a statement on Monday.
According to the statement, Cairo took part in the extraordinary meeting of the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-Com) on Monday in Entebbe to facilitate Egypt’s full return to the initiative.
Source familiar with the matter told Ahram Online that Egypt raised four issues to be considered by the Nile-Com. First of these was the importance of reaching a consensus over the CFA, given that not all NBI members adopted the CFA draft, which could raise questions about the decision-making process in the future.
The most populous Arab nation, which almost fully relies on the Nile River for water, also said that article 14 of the draft, which deals with water security, “does not adequately cover current and future uses and rights,” the source said.
Prior notification of planned measures by any NBI member states was also among Egypt’s concerns, and finally that some of the CFA’s provisions apply only to the “river system” not the “Nile Basin.”
However, the aforementioned report of the committee -- formed by Nile-Com at its 24th annual gathering last year in Uganda -- implied positive responses to Egypt’s concerns over the CFA.
Meanwhile, article 14b of the agreement would be the CFA’s only pending provision and set to be resolved within six months of the establishment of the Nile Basin River Commission, the source said.
Egypt decided to freeze it’s full participation in NBI in 2010, over disagreements about the CFA, publicly known as “Entebbe Agreement”
The CFA, signed by six NBI members out of ten so far, outlines principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources through a permanent institutional mechanism, according to the initiative’s website.