Ethiopia accuses Egypt of delaying Nile treaty
“Ethiopia and six other countries in east and central Africa will sign on May 14 a framework agreement on the equitable utilisation of the Nile river,” Ethiopian government spokesman Shimelis Kemal told reporters.
“It’s a deal based on international customary law, but Egypt is dragging its feet. All seven countries have rejected the previous agreement between Egypt and colonial Britain,” he said.
Egyptian Water Resources Minister Mohammed Allam on Monday warned Nile basin countries against inking the deal which excluded his country.
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.
At the heart of the dispute is the 1929 agreement between Egypt and Britain, acting on behalf of its African colonies along the 5,584-kilometre (3,470-mile) river, which gave Egypt veto power over upstream projects.
An agreement between Egypt and Sudan in 1959 allowed Egypt 55.5 billion cubic metres of water each year — 87 percent of the Nile’s flow — 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.
Egypt, a mostly arid country that relies on the Nile for the majority of its water, argues up-stream countries could make better use of rainfall and have other sources of water.