Egypt should end 'chauvinistic' statements over dam: Uganda president

Ahram Online, AFP , Friday 14 Jun 2013

Morsi should avoid mistakes of previous governments over Nile, African states not trying to 'hurt' Egypt, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni attends the 63rd United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2008 (Photo: Reuters)

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has called on Egypt "to restrain its chauvinistic statements" on Ethiopia's Nile dam, Uganda's Daily Monitor reported on Friday.

“The new government of Egypt should not repeat the mistakes of previous governments,” Museveni told a sitting of Parliament which was attended by diplomats. “The biggest threat to the Nile is not building hydropower dams, the biggest threat is the continued under development of countries in the tropics.

“I have seen statements in the media coming out of the government of Egypt about the commendable work of Ethiopia. What Ethiopia is doing is what governments in Africa should do."

Museveni added that Africans do not want to "hurt Egypt," but the latter cannot continue to "hurt black Africa."

On Thursday, Ethiopia's parliament ratified a controversial treaty ensuring its access to Nile water resources.

The deal replaces a colonial-era agreement that granted Egypt and Sudan the majority of water rights, and allows upstream countries to implement irrigation and hydropower projects without first seeking Egypt's approval.

Egypt and Sudan have not signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) led by the Nile Basin Initiative, but six upstream nations have.

In addition to Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have all signed, while Democratic Republic of Congo and newly independent South Sudan have said they also intend to join.

For decades, Egypt held veto rights over all upstream projects, following powers granted by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain.

Egypt's subsequent 1959 deal with Sudan gave the two downstream countries more than 90 percent control of Nile waters.

Ethiopia inked the deal in May 2010, and its ratification by parliament comes amid rising tensions between Addis Ababa and Cairo over Ethiopia's construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has warned that "all options are open" over the construction of the dam, but Ethiopia insists it will not go to war with its neighbour, dismissing Morsi's words as "empty and violent rhetoric."

Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile last month, paving the way for the construction of the $4.2 billion (3.2 billion euro) Grand Renaissance Dam, set to become Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam when completed.

The Horn of Africa country has pledged to press ahead with the dam, despite Egypt's fury.


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