When I last wrote about the politics of water-sharing among Nile basin countries, Ethiopia (a leading proponent of a greater share for upstream countries) had announced plans to build a dam on the river. This move potentially put them at odds with Egypt (a proponent of the status quo, which involves substantial Egyptian control over the Nile), but both countries seemed somewhat willing to work things out. The change of government in Egypt has created opportunities to rework the existing arrangement, and the two regimes are pursuing talks that may lead to a solution.
Ethiopia has agreed to postpone ratification of a treaty on sharing Nile River water until a new Egyptian government takes office to join the negotiations. The delay eases a long-running dispute between upstream countries at the source of the Nile and downstream countries that claim historic rights to the water.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has told a visiting Egyptian delegation he will freeze consideration of a treaty that would reverse colonial-era agreements giving Egypt and Sudan rights to 90 percent of the Nile’s water. Six upper riparian states have signed the deal, clearing the way for ratification. But downstream countries Egypt and Sudan have refused.
The article goes on to say that Mubarak’s regime generated considerable ill will on the issue and that Ethiopia, along with fellow upstream power Uganda, are willing to give the new regime time to get its bearings before they ask for a decision regarding the treaty. Still, the upstream countries are making sure the new Egyptian regime understands the importance of the Nile issue.
Ezega, a source I am not very familiar with, has more.