Minister: Egypt will not sign Entebbe agreement in current form

Egypt will not sign the Entebbe Framework Agreement until its wording meets the country's approval, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Bahaa Eddin said in an interview with Xinhua news agency.

He added that the agreement will be worthless without Egypt and Sudan, saying that “the language of war is unacceptable in handling the crisis between countries of the Nile Basin.”

In April 2010, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania signed a new agreement in Entebbe redistributing Nile water shares. Egypt, along with Sudan, boycotted the deal, saying it was non-binding. The deal was approved after Burundi signed on in March 2011.

Egypt, which receives the lion's share of Nile waters, has said it will reject any deals that do not preserve its historic water rights.

Egypt's share of Nile waters stand at 51 billion square meters annually, according to a deal signed with Sudan on 1959, which gives the latter 18 billion square meters of water per year.

Bahaa Eddin said that Egypt’s Nile water quota does not satisfy its needs, claiming that it Egypt needs 7 billion cubic meters of water more than what is currently allocated, while admitting that political conditions in Egypt have also had a negative impact on the Nile water dossier.

Asked about water projects China is financing in Nile Basin countries, Bahaa Eddin said that those projects have no impact on Egypt’s Nile water quotas, but added that China should make sure projects it intends to finance in the Nile Basin have no negative impact on Egypt.

Regarding a possible partnership with Ethiopia to build the Renaissance Dam, Bahaa Eddin said that Egypt has managed to block financing to the project, since international financing bodies make  it a requirement for downstream countries to approve the financing of Ethiopia's dam. He added that if Ethiopia were looking for partners, then Egypt and Sudan should have priority over others, adding that Egypt suffers from an electricity crisis while the Ethiopian dam is projected to generate 6,000 megawatts.

However, he also said that that Egypt is still examining the partnership and has not yet made a decision on it.

Bahaa Eddin added that the Supreme Nile Water Commission is gearing up to convene soon to discuss future scenarios where the Renaissance Dam might impact Egypt's supply of Nile water.


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