Egypt

Irrigation Minister: Egypt will avoid further disputes with Nile Basin countries

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Bahaa Eddin said Saturday that ongoing work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia was still exploratory, and in a statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm added that Egypt is looking to avoid further disputes with Nile Basin countries after President Mohamed Morsy’s visit to Ethiopia and Uganda.

Bahaa Eddin said that ministry experts have put forward proposals for better cooperation with Nile Basin countries, and that if Egypt approved the establishment of the dam, there would be a joint agreement stipulating that Egypt and Sudan's shares of the river water would not be affected.

Ethiopia embarked on the construction of the Renaissance Dam in mid-2011 amid fears on Egypt and Sudan's part that their shares of the Nile water would be affected. Ethiopia stressed though that the project would not have a negative impact on the downstream countries.

Bahaa Eddin added that the dispute between Egypt and Sudan on one side and other Nile Basin countries on the other was only the result of Egypt and Sudan's wishes to preserve their rights. Egypt and Sudan have agreed to present their joint agreement at the ministerial meeting of the Nile Basin countries expected to take place in November, and according to Bahaa Eddin, the initiative includes new mechanisms for the implementation of joint projects benefiting all Nile Basin countries.

The Nile Basin countries signed the Entebbe agreement in Uganda in mid-2011 concerning the redistribution of the Nile River waters.

Egypt and Sudan had previously taken the lion's share of the Nile’s water in accordance with an agreement signed in 1929 under the British occupation.

A tripartite committee that represents the governments of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia is assessing the impact of Renaissance Dam on the water shares.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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