Egypt participates in Nile Basin Initiative talks in Entebbe

Mahmoud Aziz , Monday 27 Mar 2017

Egypt's participation in this round of talks reflects Cairo's keenness to achieve a fair distribution of benefits to all Nile basin countries, said the country's Deputy FM for African Affairs

The Egyptian irrigation minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati (C) during the NBI's 24th meeting of the Nile Council of Ministers in 2016(Photo: Nile Basin Initiative)

The Nile Basin Initiative's council of ministers commenced on Monday a meeting in Uganda's Entebbe with the participation of Egypt's Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati to discuss concerns over the Cooperative Framework Agreement, state news agency MENA reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mohamed Idriss said that Egyptian participation in the current round of talks reflect's Cairo's keenness to achieve a fair distribution of benefits to all Nile basin countries, adding that the Nile River should be a source of of cooperation and development rather than dispute on the continent. 
The first phase of meetings, which began earlier this month in Sudan's capital Khartoum, included "long discussions wherein Egypt presented all its concerns regarding the Nile Basin Initiative and the Entebbe agreement," Abdel-Ati was quoted as saying by MENA.
The Cooperative Framework Agreement, more commonly known as the Entebbe Agreement, has been signed by six Nile Basin countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Egypt and Sudan have declined to sign the treaty, which sets out principles and obligations of member states regarding use of the basin's water resources, citing concerns about its reallocation of Nile water quotas and other provisions.
Historic water-sharing pacts between Egypt and Sudan divide the Nile waters between the two countries. 
The Egyptian minister said earlier that the Entebbe meetings will cover the results of the Khartoum meetings and Egypt's concerns as well as look at "solutions and alternatives that guarantee collective benefit and prevent harm."
The Nile Basin Initiative has ten permanent members -- Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Eritrea has observer status.
The under-construction Grand Ethiopian Dam, which when complete will be Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam, has been a source of concern for Egypt in recent years, with some experts arguing that filling and operating the dam will reduce the water that flows downstream to Egypt.
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