Tipping Point in Nile Controversy?

Disagreements between countries in the Nile basin grew throughout the spring as Egypt and Sudan refused to join their southern neighbors in a new water-sharing agreement. As things stand now, the negotiations over the agreement could go in several different directions.

The nations that signed the agreement in May – Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya – will not back down. But they will need help to bring the agreement into being.

The five signatories have given the other Nile Basin countries – Egypt, Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – one year to join the pact.

The new deal would need at least six signatories to come into force.

Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have not signed the deal yet and have so far been tight-lipped about whether they plan to or not.

Egypt and Sudan are still saying no to the deal:

Responding to the [latest] developments, Kamal Ali Mohamed, Sudan’s water minister, said his country would now stop co-operating with the NBI because the agreement raised legal issues.

“We are freezing activities regarding the NBI until these issues, these legal implications, are resolved,” he said.

Mohamed’s statement drew expected criticism from Asfaw, who said the Sudanese had not revealed their intention to freeze co-operation during the two-day meeting.

Separately, Mohamed Nasreddin Allam, Egypt’s water resources and irrigation minister, told the Reuters news agency that a meeting to discuss the Nile agreement would be held in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, some time between September and November.

“The deal can not be forced upon us. It will only be an obligation for those countries, not Egypt’s,” he said.

“Ask the Egyptians to leave their culture and go and live in the desert because [you] need to take this water and to add it to other countries? No.

“Egypt has no source of water other than that coming from upstream countries. The upstream countries have many sources and aren’t managing our Nile properly. That’s what we are asking for.”

AFP has more.

I cannot say how this will play out. It may take some time. Still, I wonder whether the momentum does not run against Egypt and Sudan. They have greater control over the Nile, from what I understand, but they are outnumbered. I guess a lot could come down to how Burundi and the DRC move.

1 thought on “Tipping Point in Nile Controversy?

  1. Pingback: Nile Basin: Water crisis emerging « WASH news Africa

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