Environment Minister Stanislas Kamanzi
Following the recent failure to agree on water sharing, Egypt has warn upstream countries against signing the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA which excluded his country.
“Nile water is a matter of national security to Egypt. We won’t under any circumstances allow our water rights to be jeopardized,” Mohamed Allam, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, told Egyptian Parliament this week.
“If the Nile basin countries unilaterally signed the agreement it would be considered the announcement of the Nile Basin Initiative’s death,” Allam added.
However, Rwandan Minister of Land and Environment Stanislas Kamanzi said that despite the good relations between Rwanda and Egypt, they wanted to see the agreement signed.
“In our recent meeting in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, we agreed to sign this agreement come May 14 but with the exception of the two downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) since they lacked consensus with the other countries,” said Kamanzi.
The controversy between the upstream and downstream countries of the Nile lies in the signing of the CFA that establishes a permanent commission of the Nile Basin and a clear formality of water sharing.
The CFA replaces a 1929 colonial-era treaty between Egypt and Britain, which gave Egypt veto power over upstream projects. The country also has access to most of the water from one of the world’s longest rivers.
An agreement between Egypt and Sudan in 1959 allowed Egypt 55.5 billion cubic metres of water each year and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic metres.
Some of the Nile Basin countries say past treaties are unfair and they want an equitable water-sharing agreement that would allow for more irrigation and power projects.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia has said that it would go ahead with a new deal with six other countries on sharing the waters of the Nile and accused Egypt of “dragging its feet” on a more equitable treaty.
Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda agreed to the new deal on April 13, only to be shunned by both Egypt and Sudan — the river’s two largest consumers.