Egypt is keen on overcoming outstanding differences between the Nile Basin countries, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni during a visit to Entebbe to attend a summit of Nile Basin presidents.
According to an official statement released by the president’s office, El-Sisi told Museveni that Egypt is adamant on ending divisions in a way that will restore cooperation between all Nile Basin countries and accomplish mutual goals that exceed cooperation in the field of water and extend to different developmental fields.
According to the statement, Museveni expressed his appreciation for the historic and ongoing bonds between the two countries, and his aspiration for an upgrading of bilateral relations.
He expressed his respect for the Egyptian president’s willingness to participate in the summit, stressing the importance of the summit in launching serious talks at a strategic level on the Nile water issue, which could contribute to bringing together the viewpoints of the different countries.
Uganda is the current chair of the Nile Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the Nile Basin Initiative.
The initiative comprises 10 permanent members: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Eritrea has observer status.
Egypt froze its membership in the initiative in 2010 over disagreements about the initiative’s Cooperative Framework Agreement, also known as the Entebbe agreement.
Egypt and Sudan have declined to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement--which sets out the principles and obligations of member states regarding the use of the basin's water resources -- citing concerns about its reallocation of water quotas and other provisions.
Historic water-sharing pacts between Egypt and Sudan continue to govern the distribution of Nile water between the two countries.