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Dialogue the only way to secure Nile water supply

The general coordinator for Nile Basin affairs in Egypt's foreign ministry identifies cooperation with other Nile Basin countries as the way to any resolution on how to share the river's water

Ahmed Eleiba, Sunday 2 Jan 2011
Nile
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Views: 3740

Ambassador Reda Bebars, the general coordinator for Nile Basin affairs in Egypt's foreign ministry, has likened Nile waters to a large pie with Egypt and Sudan having a small slice.

Egypt's permanent quota of Nile water is estimated at 55.5 billion square metres, and there are concerns that population growth in the coming two decades will create a crisis. After 2030, the population of Egypt is expected to reach 100 million. Under current climatic conditions it appears that increasing the water quota is not a possibility.

The dispute between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand and the rest of the Nile Basin countries on the other revolves around the fact that these countries want to create a Nile Basin Commission.

Egypt rejects the idea of the proposed format, known as the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) signed in Entebbe, Uganda in May last year. Four countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) signed the CFA while Kenya joined signed up later.

Egypt and Sudan have refused to join. Other countries which did not sign are Burundi and Democratic Congo.

While the CFA does not specify exact water quotas for Nile Basin countries, it voids the agreements of 1929 and 1959 and allows each Nile Basin country to meet its needs for river water without harming other states.

The agreement also allows the commission, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and comprised of representatives from all nine Nile Basin countries, to approve or reject proposals for water projects on the Nile.

Bebars said that there are agreements dating back to the 1890s which were amended since, and Egypt still upholds. These are agreements which are backed by international law and precedent, most notably the agreements of 1929 and 1959.

In a lecture at the annual conference of the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Council under the title 'Water Security: the reality and future', Bebars stated that by signing the CFA these countries have created a complicated political situation, and now these states feel they have made a mistake.

"Currently, we are preparing a long-term development initiative which will be launched soon," he revealed. "Trade and economic cooperation are important and we will pursue it."

Ambassador Bebars noted that Egypt is aware of foreign interference in the issue of the Nile Basin. "We do not and will not allow any outside party to manipulate the current situation and spoil relations; we are very conscious of this," he said

Discussing Egypt's strategy, Bebars noted that an international river cannot be managed by one country alone. "Accordingly, we will protect our quota and our water security," he insisted.

Many of the Nile Basin states which disagree with Egypt, especially Ethiopia, threaten the looming prospect of projects funded by the World Bank such as the construction of dams which could affect Egypt's quota of Nile water.

"The World Bank has rules about pre-notification," he explained. "Accordingly, all the countries must approve any project related to the river, and all the banks in the world, as well as economic and investment funds practice the same rules.

"Egypt is closely following developments on this issue everywhere in the world, and we have no objection to investments. In fact, we encourage them, participate and talk to donors candidly. We are adamant that relations with these countries continue on the right path."

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TOSH
05-01-2011 08:00am
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Dialogue on the Nile Water
It is arrogant at the same time undermining the Ethiopians wills to say that Egypt is closely following developments on this issue everywhere in the world. I can not understand Egypt still to think the radical old ways of thinking. I don’t see any country in this 21st Century would agree with any Egyptians idea forget alone plan and its implementation. Therefore, any objection to investments can not notify to any body. In fact, Ethiopia and the other concerned countries have to encourage themselves to practice the way they wanted to feed themselves. No government of a Country will choose to participate and talk to donors. The Source Countries of the water has to come with some sort of $$$ to sell their natural wealth in Galloon as the oil is.
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Anon
04-01-2011 01:20pm
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Britain still has the audacity to speak of Africa
I can't believe Britain actually butts in African business..its bad enough Western corporations continue to suck it dry.
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Antonette
04-01-2011 11:27am
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Fair approach
Yes , Dialogue and negotiation in fair and equitable manner is the only way to secure Nile water supply for Egypt. Egypt should forget the devilish ,silly and childish approach by trade and investment approach. No country on earth would sell its soverningty rights and wealth for money. States and govermnemets have responsibilities for future generations as well. Antonette , Brundi
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Agamino
03-01-2011 05:56pm
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forget Nile
85% of the Nile water comes from Ethiopia means: Ethiopia owns Nile! No if's No but's, that's the reality. Now all the evil tactics Egypt used for years to halt Ethiopian development has stopped.however the greedy and irresponsible Egyptians are trying it still! well it does not matter any more. Ethiopia is a strong and stable country now. Ethiopia is almost in a position where she can afford to build huge dams and she is doing it! there are two options for the Greedy and irresponsible Egyptians: 1) keep doing the usual evil thing to destabilize Ethiopia and keep losing. 2) come to the table beg (yes beg, not negotiate!) for your fair share. for years we have been starving partly because the greedy and irresponsible Egyptians.
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Ann
03-01-2011 03:11pm
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Kindergarten Story
I am a kindergarten school teacher. The way I see the article, can be rephrased as follows . “Once upon a time there was a robber. He came to Africa to rob and steal. One day he tried to steal someone’s property and to sell it away to a nearby neighbor. The owner of the property woke up and kicked the robber away for good. The greedy neighbor selfishly cried for not getting the some other’s property . Humanely the owner shared some of his property to the greedy neighbor. Ever since the owner guarded his property well , and he lived thereafter attentively peacefully forever .” Mrs. Ann W. Fairfield - London, UK
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Arun
03-01-2011 10:44am
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Nile is the basin countries peoples wealth and not for Egypt alone !
The Article written hereon reflects the neo-colonilist mentalist of rasicist Egypt. All the peoples of Nile Riprian countries living in the basin have the full right to use and utilize their nature and God gifted wealth. Britain is colonizer in other words unwelcomed robbers . They have no right to command or neotiate in Africa's wealth. Arun Mashudo , South Africa
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Elias
03-01-2011 09:09am
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unbelievable mindset
The minister isn't telling us new other than the usual Egyptian bravado about how closely he is following all the developments around the world in regards to the Nile. ethiopians also know that you are doing more than just that by sponsoring all sorts of evils in the region. but bear in mind, the more you try to push Ethiopians around the stronger they become. thanks to Information technology, the days you have exploited the uninformed Ethiopian generation to your own advantage is over. Almost every human race is better informed now and knows the name of the game. The sooner you update your mindset, the better for your populous. even the size of the Nile has changed since the Freon, but egyppitan way of thinking seems stuck in the past. unbelievable!
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DarkDawg
03-01-2011 07:36am
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Underestimate Us
I am glad the Egyptians underestimate us, black folks. They look down on us so much, it is unimaginable for them we even asked to use our own waters. Believe me, this kind of arrogance will be the cause of their own downfall. Egypt should have been the one asking for a fair share, not us who are the generators of this natural resource. The only thing that would ever make me raise arms and go to fight is in the event arabs attempt an adventure to rob our natural resources or sovereignity. Egypt's insistence of this ridiculous notion of claiming ownership of a resource inside my country is undermining my sovereinity. It infuriates me.
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Wenebz
03-01-2011 07:01am
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Egypt & Israel Supporters of Endless Dialogue
Well, Egypt and Israel appear to enjoy engaging in endless dialogue when matters suit them, while at the same time trying to create facts on the ground.
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tewodros
02-01-2011 10:37pm
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not fair
Ethiopia was not part of the aggreement made in 1929 or 1959. That means, Ethiopia is not forced to be part of the threaty. The onoly problem that ethiopia has is financial capacity. If she get, forget about the agreement. It will continue constructing additional hydropowers as the one that was done in 2010. I am surprised that you are thinking of possiblity for additional water. We are thinking of fair distribution. No you are not right. this is not the 19th century. Today, all the countries needs to get their share. The survival shouldnt be about only egypt. All countries should survive. Dont be ignorant. whether u like it or not, the old threaty will be void and we will get back our right.
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