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Entebbe Agreement not binding on Egypt: Minister of irrigation

Mohamed Bahaa El-Din says Egypt is not bound by the Entebbe Agreement ratified by Ethiopia; affirms Egypt's willing to cooperate on Nile River management

Ahram Online and MENA, Sunday 16 Jun 2013
Irrigation minister
Mohamed Bahaa El-Din, President of African Ministers Council on Water, and Egypt's Minister of Water and Irrigation (Photo: AP)
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Egyptian Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohamed Bahaa Al-Din said Sunday that the Entebbe Agreement of the Nile Basin Initiative is not binding on Egypt as Cairo did not sign it.

The minister's statement came on the sidelines of a workshop on managing the Nile water during climate change, and that discussed recent strife between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile River development projects.

Ethiopia recently diverted the Blue Nile ahead of building a hydroelectric power dam, planned to be the largest on the continent.

Egypt is concerned that the dam will affect its Nile water shares.

The Ethiopian parliament ratified last Tuesday the Entebbe Agreement, which aims to establish a commission to oversee Nile projects.   

"Egypt will not sign the agreement unless [certain] points of contention are modified," Al-Din said. The points of contention, for Egypt, include that Egypt be given a decision-making position in the proposed Nile River Basin Commission. Also that Egypt be notified before the construction of any project aimed at using Nile River water.

Al-Din voiced the willingness of Egypt to discuss these points of contention. He also emphasised that Egypt is not against developmental projects in Nile Basin countries, citing Egypt's approval of the Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station in Uganda, after verifying that it will not affect Egypt's share of the Nile.

The Entebbe Agreement is meant to replace the 1929 colonial-era agreement that awarded Egypt and Sudan the majority use of the Nile River.

Ethiopia is one of five countries party to the agreement. The other countries are Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan have indicated their intention to join the agreement.

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MASABO Philippe, from Burundi.
18-06-2013 11:21am
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Needed dialogue around the issue.
The Minister is saying " ... that Egypt be notified before the construction of any project aimed at using Nile River water." I think this is a good point on which the NB Countries have to emphasis on during the dialogue that I personally recommend around this issue. INFORMING BEFORE, not WAITING FOR THE APPROVAL OF Egypt. The idea behind informing may have several impacts, like: Egypt may plan on stopping the waters entering the Mediterranean sea by the time a dam is being constructed on the downstream countries, and this will help out before the dam is full and let the water flaw again (with the same quantity) towards the Egypt! Please, get on dialogue, and a solution is there, and we can all benefit from the Nile Basin benefits.
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MASABO Philippe, from Burundi.
18-06-2013 11:21am
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Needed dialogue around the issue.
The Minister is saying " ... that Egypt be notified before the construction of any project aimed at using Nile River water." I think this is a good point on which the NB Countries have to emphasis on during the dialogue that I personally recommend around this issue. INFORMING BEFORE, not WAITING FOR THE APPROVAL OF Egypt. The idea behind informing may have several impacts, like: Egypt may plan on stopping the waters entering the Mediterranean sea by the time a dam is being constructed on the downstream countries, and this will help out before the dam is full and let the water flaw again (with the same quantity) towards the Egypt! Please, get on dialogue, and a solution is there, and we can all benefit from the Nile Basin benefits.
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9



Sewit
17-06-2013 10:58am
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Change your colonial mind-set.
The new Nile agreement will replace the 1959 colonial agreement and it never have any legal binding status on upper stream countries, which even have no consulted or signed on it. the best way for Egypt to do is unlock their mind from their routinely said uncivilized colonial mind set and join the upper stream countries for sustainable and mutual benefits. Unless, they must now that no country will go with its project to Egypt to get their prior permission. Only mutual respect and understanding bring a win-win solution.
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Ketema
17-06-2013 10:30am
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Perverse logic!
Excellency, the Minister says Egypt is not a signatory to the Enttebe agreement and hence not binding. Ethiopia and other Nile source countries were not signatories to the 1959 agreement of Egypt and Sudan. Furthermore, Ethiopia has never been colonized and is not a signatory to the 1929 agreement. What irrational and perverse logic forces Ethiopia to abide by those two agreements?
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7



yMeskel
17-06-2013 12:12am
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Missing the boat
Egyptian politicians are living in fantasy world. Egypt has to come to the table and negotiate for a binding agreement, if not, it will lose everything. The level of arrogance and racism is a recipe for disaster. Morsi is doing this to divert attentions.
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Basha
16-06-2013 11:15pm
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Equitable use
If the Entebbe Agreement of the Nile Basin Initiative is not binding on Egypt because Egypt did not sign it, how is Ethiopia supposed to respect the 1929 and 1959 agreements which it has never been part of it? Do you see how Egypt has no logic what so ever when it comes to the use of the river? It acts as if Egypt is the sole source of the river and hence the 'giver' on who gets what. The fact is that Egypt contributes 0% to Nile! Egypt will not have any veto 'say' with resources it has no control and can not be granted any decision making position while it is rejecting the voices of six nations. The basis of any future 'cooperation', if any at all, should be that Egypt recognize that we can use our resources for what ever we deem to- of course with out significantly affecting the needs of our Egyptian and Sudanese brothers. There is always a way for all to be winners. The idea of 'stronger Ethiopia is a threat to Egypt' must changed from Egyptian politicians.
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Fikru
16-06-2013 08:31pm
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neither to be abide upper stream by colonial mind treaty
How the upper stream countries have to abide by colonial era treaty not signed at all at the time of panafricanism?The exception Ethiopia is not colonized and British colonial mind is not a discussion
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Fithe
16-06-2013 08:01pm
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Do not be greedy minster
dear minster you are saying that Egypt will not be abide by agreements that was signed by five or six countries while you are expecting Ethiopia to accept the 1929 and 1959 agreements signed by only two countries (minority vote), this is totally undemocratic and selfishness. Dear minister rather it is good to discuss with other nile basin countries particularly with Ethiopia, it is only by this win win principle that both Ethiopian and egyptian people will benefit. I like the people of Egypt not the minority politician who craves to see famine and war in Ethiopia
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3



Amire
16-06-2013 07:36pm
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legal rights
Who instigated that 1929 Nile treaty? Well, wouldn’t you know? - It was the jolly-good-old British Empire.The colonial era agreement was signed only by Egypt and Sudan and kept every one else, literally, in the dark. The legal rights that modern-day Egypt refers to are, therefore, the legacy of British colonialism that was designed to disadvantage poor black African nations for the benefit of British capital in Egypt and Sudan. In other words, from a modern-day democratic and ethical point of view, the Nile treaty that Egypt lionizes is not worth the British blood-spattered colonial-era paper it is written. IF Egyptian's don't believe in EQUITY and FAIRNESS, they themselves needs decades to change them from 16th century thinking to 21st century. All the 11 countries that share the Nile water Should TEAR the signed treaty of 1929 who gives advantages to their own FORMER British colony Egypt & Suden,bygiving them the VETO powerFor a water as VITAL for Egypt's survival as Ethiopia & Istead of war rhetoric ( courtesy of BULLYING IRRATIONAL powers).They need to Create a coalition and FIND a REAL SOLUTION, they can ALL live withBullying has NO PLACE in the 21 century & the reminder of COLOLIANISM causing so much PAIN to these nations. But, Finding a REAL SOLUTION .That grantees SURVIVAL for of ALL who dependent on this GOD given rich in mineral & beautiful historical water Is and SHOULD be the ONLY OPTION and NOTHING else.May wisdom prevail OVER ALL the bullying acts!!
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expat
16-06-2013 07:12pm
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you forgot one little thing,minister
yes,you forgot one little issue here... you are not the supplier,you are only the receiver of the issue... so,if you anger the suppliers in total,what you want to do? go with your herous army to war against whole africa? this didnt even work out against a mini state like israel...think twice,3times in your case
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