Nile Basin states to meet in Rwanda in October

Nile Basin countries will hold an exceptional meeting on 27 and 28 October in Kigali, Rwanda, the Egyptian government announced Monday.

Egypt’s new irrigation and water resources minister, Hisham Qandil, said the meeting will be held on the sidelines of the third Nile Basin Development Forum ministerial meeting.

All Nile Basin countries are scheduled to attend the meeting, which will celebrate South Sudan formally becoming the 11th member of the Nile Basin Initiative.

In a press statement, Qandil said that ministers of the Nile Basin countries unanimously agreed to hold the exceptional meeting to discuss the ramifications of the Entebbe agreement, which was signed by six member countries last year.

Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya signed the agreement in Uganda, but Egypt and Sudan objected to the fact that it does not include their historical right to Nile water, which was part of the 1959 Nile water bilateral agreement signed with Sudan.

In 1959, Egypt was granted the lion's share of Nile water (51 billion cubic meters annually) and Sudan 18 billion cubic meters.

Burundi acceded to the agreement in March, becoming the sixth country to sign, which paved the way for its approval.

Egypt said it would not accept an agreement that redivides the river if it does not guarantee its historical rights.

Qandil said that the meeting will open the door to discussing ideas and proposals as well as alternatives, stressing the importance of continued cooperation in the field of development between Nile Basin states.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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