Sunday, February 26, 2012

Egypt’s Irrigation Minister: Not obliged to sign Entebbe Nile water agreement - Bikya Masr

Egypt maintains obstinate stance over Nile water.

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hisham Kandil said on Saturday that Egypt, Sudan and the Congo will not sign the Nile Water Framework Convention, known as the “Entebbe Agreement,” except in case of meeting the needs and interests of the three countries, “particularly as it is not binding.”

Kandil said that the relations between Egypt and the Nile Basin countries are “witnessing a remarkable development in the framework of bilateral cooperation and the technical expertise and funding Egypt grants to support these countries in the development of their societies, as long as they do not conflict with Egypt’s water interests.”

‫ ‫ He added that he discussed with his Ethiopian counterpart on the sidelines of the annual “Nile Day” organized by the Nile Basin (NBI) in Uganda last week, the position of the work of the Tripartite Commission to assess the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

He stressed the need to continue the communication with Nile Basin countries, and added that he is expected to hold a meeting with the Tanzanian Minister of Water to discuss Tanzania’s needs for “experience and aid for the establishment and operation of wells for groundwater to provide domestic needs for water for the benefit of local communities.”

He continued: “Egypt agreed on the construction of the Bujagali dam in Uganda in 2000, after technical studies proved that Egypt water security will not be affected.”

Egypt and Sudan are both concerned over the controversial historical agreements that continue to deliver them the lion’s share of water from the Nile River. In late December, the two countries’ water officials met in the Egyptian capital, looking to continue their hegemonic status atop Nile water.

According to Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency, Egypt’s Kandil and Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzoury met with Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt Kamal Hassan Ali to continue to push forward on agreements concerning the Nile Basin Initiative – the mechanism by which Nile water is delineated among the member states along the world’s longest river.

The meeting reportedly discussed the overall situation in the countries of the Nile Basin with a focus on the outcome of the meeting earlier between the Egyptian and Sudanese delegations and the decisions taken.

The encounter also touched on bilateral relations between ministries of water resources in Egypt and Sudan as well as ways to achieve cooperation between the two countries and to unify visions on pending issues of the countries of the Nile Basin.

No mention of Ethiopia or negotiating with the upstream countries was mentioned, leaving many officials south of Sudan worried that Khartoum and Cairo would not enter into any discussion over future changes to water agreements.

According to Minister Hamad, the Egyptian Prime Minister has directed the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation “to provide technical assistance and training to the Sudanese center for water resources and irrigation. A range of economic issues between the two countries have also been discussed especially in the fields of roads and electricity,” he added, and affirmed the “keenness of the Egyptian Government to provide required support for all economic projects between the two countries.”

A tripartite committee was set up comprising experts from the countries with a view to form a mechanism to discuss and reach understanding on the issues on the table including criteria for selecting international experts.

But not all is well in the Nile Basin, with other member states demanding Egypt and Sudan give up their dominance of water rights and have demanded an end to over a half-century old treaty established under British colonial rule that allows Egypt more than 80 percent of all water.

In Egypt, there are worries that giving up its rights would bring about a massive water shortage in the country that could have detrimental social and political affects on the country and have not budged from amending previous agreements, angering upstream nations, especially Ethiopia, which has gone forward with plans for a massive dam along their portion of the Nile to generate electricity.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Egypt okays development along River Nile - National |

Projects such as the Bujagali Hydro Power Dam, on the Nile waters, have been encouraged by the Egyptian government. Photo by Nelson Wesonga

By Abubaker Kirunda & Emmanuel Mulondo (email the author)

Posted Friday, February 24 2012 at 00:00


Water minister’s call for developments on Nile waters contradicts Egypt’s previous stance.

The Nile Basin countries should invest in development projects on the River Nile to benefit their people and those beyond, the Egyptian Water Minister, Mr Hesham Kandilu, has said.

“When you take the example of Bujagali and Kiira power dams which have been set up on this river in Uganda, many of us are benefiting. So let’s make it a point to have more of them set up,” said Mr Kandilu.

He was addressing ministers for water from the Nile Basin countries’ during their conference in Jinja on Wednesday, shortly after the launch of Nile Water Day celebrations at Busoga Square.

The call was a sharp contrast to previous stance that Egypt has projected that any other countries along the Nile should first consult it before any major development that would affect the river’s flow, is made.

A 1959 agreement overseen by colonial power, Britain, gave Egypt an upper hand in the control of the Nile waters, binding both Egypt and Sudan to jointly handle any “adverse” usage by another riparian states.

As a measure to collectively counter Egypt’s “natural claim,” nine riparian states formed the Nile Basin Organisation in 1999, which on Wednesday celebrated 12 years of existence.

Share This Story

The ministers also resolved to adopt population control as a measure to check the pollution and any other human pressure on the Nile.

Ugandan Vice President Edward Sekandi, who presided over the celebrations, challenged the Nile basin member states to guard against environmental degradation as they plan activities on the Nile.
“We should all be concerned with the environment protection on these waters as we push for development to avoid risks associated with its abuse,” Mr Sekandi said.

He appealed for equitable sharing of the benefits from the Nile water to avoid conflicts.

Mr Ssekandi also called for cooperation among member states to ensure collective efforts to protect Nile water.

State Minister for Water and Environment Betty Bigombe represented Uganda. Next year’s celebrations will be held in Ethiopia.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nile River Uganda hopes for more R. Nile shares - National |



By Flavia Lanyero (email the author)

Posted Thursday, February 23 2012 at 00:00

As Uganda joined the rest of the Nile riparian countries to commemorate the Regional Nile Water Day yesterday, the directorate of water said it will not be long before the other member states agree to equal sharing of the Nile waters.

Six of the nine riparian countries Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Uganda have already signed a cooperative framework that gives equal opportunity to the usage of the Nile.

Egypt, DRC, Sudan and South Sudan have since kept silent about the issue, preferring to take the lion’s share of the water given to them 80 years ago, under the British rule.

Yesterday, however, the director of the Directorate of Natural Resources Management at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Mr Mugisha-Shillingi, said it is a matter of time before the remaining countries bow to their demands.

“The other countries have to recognise that we need the water as much as they do, and at the end of the day it will have to come down to regional cooperation,” Mr Shillingi said.

“But for now nobody has stopped us from using the water, we have dams and will soon start irrigation schemes,” he said. The rights were given to Egypt (55b cubic metres) and Sudan (18b cubic metres) with an assumption that the other six countries can get water through other sources.

Share This Story

The Regional Nile Water Day is celebrated in commemoration of the formation of the Nile Basin Initiative in 1999, to facilitated cooperation in sharing of the Nile waters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Egypt must ratify Nile water agreement  - Opinion & Analysis |

River Nile: Without an agreeable water allocation mechanism and with realisation that the status quo on the Nile water usage is unsustainable, the ten riparian states: Burundi, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eriteria, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda established the Nile Basin Initiative in February 1999.

By JOSEPH KIEYAH (email the author)

Posted Tuesday, February 21 2012 at 19:10

The impact of climate change is likely to exacerbate the water scarcity in Nile Basin in which most of its members have already been identified as water deficient countries. If such phenomena is not addressed it might lead to a regional conflict over water.

Without an agreeable water allocation mechanism and with realisation that the status quo on the Nile water usage is unsustainable, the ten riparian states: Burundi, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eriteria, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda established the Nile Basin Initiative in February 1999.

They agreed on shared vision “to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through equitable utilisation of and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources”.

In 2009, the Nile Basin Council of Minister responsible for water affairs concluded its negotiations on the Nile River Basin Co-operative Framework Agreement.

The agreement inter alia calls for the establishment of a permanent Nile River Basin Commission to facilitate co-operative management and development of the Nile. So far the agreement has been signed by on six upper riparian countries whose usage of Nile waters has been historically severely restricted.

The draft stipulates two substantive rules on water allocation, which are borrowed from the Convention on Law of Non-navigational uses of International Waters.

First, the “equitable and reasonable use” rule that grant each of the Nile Basin states property right to use Nile water in an equitable and reasonable manner within their respective jurisdiction. Second, the ‘no harm rule’ obligates the Nile Basin states to utilise the Nile water within their respective territories without causing significant harm to other basin states.

The Nile River Co-operative framework was signed by all members’ state of the basin with exception of Congo, Eriteria Egypt and Sudan. Notably Egypt has been reluctant to endorse the new agreement because the ratification of the agreement threatens their exclusive right over the usage of the Nile River based on international law.

Article 14 of the agreement on water security is the bone of contention.

The article reads, “Nile Basin States therefore agree, in a spirit of co-operation: (a) to work together to ensure that all states achieve and sustain water security; (b) not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.”

Share This Story

Egypt proposed Article 14 (b) to read, “not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin State”.

The insertion of the five words would water down the main motivation of the agreement as stipulated in Article 4 on “equitable and reasonable utilisation” of the Nile waters.

The other countries rejected this proposal. Egypt and its counterpart, Sudan fear that the coming into force of this agreement will drastically reduce their water supply as upstream countries undertake projects on the Nile.

Article 4(2)(d) of the Co-operative Framework bids the Nile Basin states to take into consideration the effects of the use or uses of the water resources in one Basin State on other Basin States.

If Egypt signs the agreement, it can use this sub-section to argue their case.

Khartoum and Juba: Critical issues and a fragile treaty - Region - World - Ahram Online

Can the most recent non-aggression treaty between Sudan and S Sudan counter the years of mutual antagonisms over oil, borders, water and violence?
Salah Khalil, Monday 20 Feb 2012
Views: 142
Kiir and Bashir
(L-R) Presidents Salva Kiir and Omar Al-Bashir meet for talks in Ethiopia (Photo: AFP)

The governments of Sudan and South Sudan signed a non-aggression treaty to contain their border dispute. It was brokered under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and a committee of African elders in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 10 February.

The treaty addresses several security, political and economic issues that could ease tense relations between the two countries since the South seceded on 9 July 2011. It is also a key step to prepare for dialogue on a number of difficult issues such as oil, border demarcation, foreign debt and armed groups. It also encourages each side to stop supporting the opposition in the other country, which could contribute greatly to stabilising the region.

Unresolved problems between the two Sudans are hot, confusing and ambiguous topics in both countries. Partition only resolved one aspect of the intertwined relations between them, with many other issues not yet resolved, including ten known as "issues that follow the referendum."

The law on the referendum on self-determination issued in December 2009, stipulated that a number of agreements should be concluded if the South decides to secede: citizenship; currency; public service; the status of joint and combined entities; national security; intelligence apparatus; international agreements and treaties; assets and debts; oil rights (its production, transportation and export); environmental contracts in oil fields, water and ownership.

These issues should have been resolved before the official declaration of independence by the South on 9 July 2011, but the two sides were unable to reach any understandings or agreements.

There are four other sensitive issues that should have also been addressed in the phase preceding the referendum, namely: the demarcation of borders; the issue of the border area of Abyei, security arrangements and a plebiscite in the regions of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. This adds up to 14 unresolved problematic issues between the two countries.

The treaty signed by the intelligence chiefs of each country reads that they will each respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the other and will not interfere in each other’s domestic affairs. They will also abstain from initiating any aggression, promote joint interests and peaceful co-existence, and especially refrain from missile attacks and supporting rebels on the other side.

The treaty also created a border monitoring mechanism between the two countries, where either side could file a complaint if there are any violations or infringements along a nearly 2,010 square kilometre border area. This body will be in charge of investigating any claims or accusations.

Finally, the treaty pushes for serious progress to reach a final settlement between the two countries under the umbrella of the AU.

But this month’s treaty is nothing more than an amended version of a previous agreement signed by the same committee at the end of last year in Khartoum. While the first agreement meeting was attended by the ministers of defence, interior and security from South Sudan and Sudan, these top Southern officials did not attend the Addis Ababa ceremony and, instead, sent less senior administrative officials in their place to negotiate with Sudan’s ministers of defence, interior and security.

The Sudanese delegation at first reacted by refusing to enter the negotiations but yielded after strong urging by African mediators.

The efforts of South Africa’s former president and chairman of the African Committee of Elders Thabo Mbeki was finally able to convince the two sides to sign the non-aggression treaty, despite the mismatched ranks present. The absence of the top South Sudan officials raised various questions and explanations, especially since African mediators said that the treaty would pave the way for future rounds of talks on oil and other outstanding issues.

It is unclear if this treaty is capable of truly clearing the air between Khartoum and Juba, to pave the way for resolving critical issues between the two sides through negotiations.

The head of the South Sudan negotiating team, Pagan Amum declared hours before heading to Addis Ababa that he is going to negotiate, “but we don’t expect any significant progress.”

Amum added that he expects some progress on some issues, but preempted negotiations by saying that his government will not cede more than 79 cents per barrel that is exported via northern territories.

Khartoum says that is too low and will not accept less than $36 per barrel, which demonstrates the huge disparity in the positions of both sides, and undercuts the possibility that the treaty will, in fact, resolve the disputes. Especially that the two former rivals – namely the ruling National Congress in the North and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south that shared power before partition – began preparing in advance for the post-secession phase by placing obstacles and plotting against the other side after Sudan is divided.

Besides the public economic war, each side is covertly supporting rebel movements inside the other’s territories. This indicates that the recent non-aggression treaty did not diffuse the situation in any way and that the drums of economic war will not fall silent until disputes on the difficult issues of oil and borders are resolved.

This, however, seems to be a tall order, despite intension mediation efforts.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Nile region of Ethiopia the Water Tower of Egypt , One Nile One Family

ISIS Godess of Nile
English: Map showing the White Nile and the Bl...
Image via Wikipedia

The recent riparian delegates visit in the Nile region as the Water power of the Nile.
And the Egyptian delegate called it enthusiastically we have One Nile and We are One Family. This could serve as a token to to mitigate the coming an inevitable water war of the Nile.

Enhanced by Zemanta