Egypt and Nile Basin countries clash over water deal

Egypt and Sudan are in a serious disagreement with the other Nile Basin countries, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Nasreddin Allam said Monday in a closed meeting of the People’s Assembly foreign affairs committee.

Allam said this disagreement is the reason why a cooperation framework agreement has not yet been signed by the Nile Basin countries, despite several meetings between the Nile Basin representatives.

The disagreement centers on a clause in the agreement stipulating that any projects in the Upper Nile region that could affect Egypt and Sudan’s share of Nile water must be announced prior to implementation. Sub-Saharan African states reject the clause, according to Allam.

At a meeting in Congo, Egypt was surprised by attempts from upstream countries to include the disputed article in an amendment to the agreement, Allam said. Egypt then called for the article, which is designed to keep Egypt and Sudan’s historic share of Nile water intact, to be included in the main text of the agreement.

Members of the People’s Assembly foreign affairs committee accused the government of not working hard enough to maintain Egypt’s status among the Nile Basin countries.

MPs also accused the Egyptian government of not showing an interest in the development of Nile Basin countries, while countries like Israel, Turkey and China provide aid to upstream countries for projects that might affect Egypt’s share of Nile water.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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