Sudan asks Egypt to rejoin Nile Basin body

2014-06-20 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Khartoum - Sudan on Thursday appealed for Egypt to resume full participation in a 10-nation Nile River forum, four years after Cairo withdrew over fears for its access to the crucial water source.

Egypt has limited its participation in the Nile Basin Initiative since 2010 when Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania signed a new treaty on equitable sharing of Nile waters.

Burundi and Kenya later also inked the deal which stripped Egypt of its power to veto upstream irrigation and hydropower projects.

The Co-operative Framework Agreement replaced a decades-old pact that gave Egypt and Sudan rights over more than 90 percent of the Nile's waters.

Egypt is almost entirely dependent on water from the Nile.

To protest the 2010 pact, Cairo withdrew from the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a forum for riparian countries to discuss joint management and development of the region's resources.

'Your seat is still empty'

"I should like to place an appeal to our sister nation Egypt. Please, your seat is still empty," Sudan's water resources and electricity minister, Muattaz Musa Abdallah Salim, said at the annual meeting of Nile Basin water ministers.

"Your resumption of your activities in NBI will further consolidate our gains and integrity in the region," Salim said.

Egypt did send a delegation to the Khartoum talks because they are a chance to discuss the controversial Framework Agreement, Ahmed Abu Zeid, counsellor with Egypt's foreign ministry, told AFP on the sidelines of the talks.

But except for such ministerial meetings Cairo has not participated in any other NBI programmes or bodies since 2010, he said.

Egypt's new water resources and irrigation minister, Hussein Mohamed al-Mughazi, was not part of the Cairo delegation because he was only sworn in on Tuesday, Abu Zeid said.

Membership frozen

"We thought that the logic and the rules of procedure say that any agreement should be by consensus on all the articles, which didn't happen. So we had to freeze our membership since then," Abu Zeid said.

He said there have recently been encouraging statements from some signatories to the Framework Agreement. They indicated there is a need "to re-encourage the dialogue again amongst all the countries".

In a speech to the forum, Jemma Nunu Kumba, South Sudan's water minister, reiterated "the need to continuously engage Egypt both formally and informally".

Kumba is the outgoing chairperson of the ministerial group.

Sudan also froze its NBI participation after the 2010 treaty but resumed involvement last year.

Egypt has expressed particular fears that Ethiopia's 6 000 MW Grand Renaissance dam project could diminish its water supply.

Constructive dialogue

The dam will be Africa's largest when completed in 2017.

Cairo raised its concerns in three-way talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, but they have not met since January.

"There is no schedule but we always invite them to come to the discussion," Ethiopia's water minister Alemayehu Tegenu told AFP, adding that construction of the dam is going well.

Abu Zeid said Egypt hopes for "common ground to start a constructive dialogue" on the Ethiopian hydro project.

The 6 700km Nile River is one of the world's longest and drains about 10% of Africa.

NBI says its co-operative mechanism has brought tangible benefits, including a cross-border electricity link opened in December between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Democratic Republic of Congo is NBI's 10th member.
Read more on:    egypt  |  sudan  |  east africa  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.