Egypt to begin PR offensive against Nile Water treaty

May 18, 2010

A diplomatic effort will be launched in the coming days. Delegates to the United States, the European Union and China will lobby to back Egypt in the dispute over the distribution of Nile water.

They will also attempt to appropriate Western help in annulling the treaty signed last Friday between Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda with Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo due to sign the agreement at a later date.

Yet Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies researcher Nabil Abdel-Fatah had criticized the official approach, saying that the Egyptian response to Nile issue has been “slow and lacking in dynamism.”

He added: “The Egyptian political and diplomatic structure still perceives Africa from a position of superiority; they still see it as the old Africa just after colonialism.”

“Egypt must stop perceiving Africa in such a regressive way,” he said, “And our dealings with Africa should be revised on a more equitable and developmental level.”

Egypt and Sudan had no part in the treaty, as they have the lion’s share of use of the Nile water dating back to a treaty signed with the British in 1929 and later revised in 1959. The other seven countries have since gained independence and are calling for more equitable rights in the water-sharing agreement.

Under the treaty, Egypt and Sudan have the right of use of 87% of the Nile waters, which is around 74 billion cubic meters, 55.5 billion of which goes to Egypt, while 18.5 billion goes to Sudan.

“Many Egyptian researchers have long stated that the water sharing agreement should be revised or Egypt would face a problem. The Egyptian government dragged its heels and its interest in Africa waned,” Abdel-Fatah said.

After the treaty was signed, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that it was not binding to Egypt nor did it exempt the signatories from their commitments “under the rules of international and customary laws, and the current practices, as well as the existing agreements, which enjoy sanctity as being border agreements that cannot be disregarded.”

Recent talks between the nine Nile Basin countries in Sharm El-Sheikh had failed to reach common ground, as Egypt and Sudan insisted that they retain the right to grant permission to the other countries before beginning any large-scale projects that would affect the river’s water levels. Talks over a revised treaty have lasted a decade with no headway.

Abdel-Fatah said, “The latest comments from Egyptian officials was an attempt to placate public opinion, the government needs to revise its policy towards the Nile basin countries, which hasn’t happened till now.”


Related: Egypt plans to block Nile Basin deal


17 comments on “Egypt to begin PR offensive against Nile Water treaty

  1. Egyptians are always thinking Ethiopia as strategical enemy,they always try to block any developmental funds from the world with the help of some super powers and the worst is they always help anti Ethiopia elements everywhere and this system was working for years and years, now they are thinking the same formula completely wrong. they suppose to solve they disagreement with their brothers instead of going wrong way. the bottom line is we Ethiopians what do we learn from this, are we ready to solve the disagreement peacefully, are we ready for the worst hope not happen, in this issue is our eye Focus only in Egypt? in my opinion the Ethiopian people and Ethiopian government must watch carefully the Eritrean government more than any body and more than any time.

  2. we would like you to knoe that Egypyians are not against your development. If the dams you intend to build are intended to generate electricity, then we don’t have any objections as it is for sure your right as long as you won’t stop the flowing of the river. But if you need the water, you better think how to utilize the huge rain you got instead of blocking the river because we will not let that happen under any condition.

  3. MR Egyptian, If I were Ethiopian leader your attitude would force me to divert the river. You have only one choise. Be nice acknowledge that with out Ethiopia there is no a country called Egypt. Actually the river is enough for everybody so don’t be greedy.

  4. You Egyptians who are you to tell us what to do and not to do on our river.
    And the idea about the rain is funny!!!!!!!!

  5. Gentlemen,
    Then it is the WAR…….
    But let me warn you, YOU WON’T WIN
    See you in Tana

  6. Egyptian, don’t be bigheaded. Your statemnt does not represnt us. We Egyptians have great respect to our Ethiopian brothers and sisters. Yes dams can decrease the flow of water but I don’t think they continue to build more dams to the extent the flow of the river is significantly affected. The best thing for our government to do is negotiate and as the same time acknowledge the contribution of the countries who are the source of river nile.

  7. Egyptians, let u review ur self. Abay (Nile) is ours. U should thank us for that matter u utilized it for centuries. Now, that is history fro Ethiopians. Now we are in full capacity to construct dams and develop our country. U think u r powerful to win in a war. But never happen. We r natural warriors, not artificial. Let alone Egypt, we can win the entire continent. But, we do linke that, we like love and peace. Let u broaden ur mind. We r globalized people. We live here but with international perspective. So use ur own resource. Rely on Egypt, not on Ethiopia and Abay.

  8. Egyptian, do you forget your history of losing two wars with ethiopian and many with Israeli people. did you forget ethiopian have one of the most skilled airforce in the continent? who are you after all, if there is no isreal-palastine issue in the middle east? the oil era is over, no more egypt or palastine, or isreal are important to the world! so dont be stupid, you better beg us for water, even if you want war we will not send war planes to you, we will kill you with only few jar of heavy metals. take care dont abuse our patience at all, let alont to arab’s, we have never nil down to your colonizers. remember Ethiopia is the only country who defeat westerns!

  9. Ethiopians;
    We’ll not let go a single drop.
    Your actions will cause you not only to lose our approval for building your hydro power plants but to lose the lake and the river banks as well.

  10. Lets not spread hatred among people of the same river. Most of us( both Egyptians and Ethiopians) are sons and daughters of the same river. I do not think that a rational mind from both sides thinks that there is not a means by which both countries are benefited. I believe that no Egyptian farmer who can feed his horse with rice will be happy to see the Nile being “contaminated” with a dead body-died of maluntrition because of his dependency on rainfall- of a farmer(NOT HIS HORSE) from Ethiopia. God let our goverments govern us not in meanance and revenge but in a very human way that creates happiness to the citizens of both nations. Everybody who post his/her comment should read/understand in his/her mind what it really means to others to post bad things!!!!

  11. To do away with international treaties is very dangerous and presents a graver danger than you think.

    For one thing your borders are set by old and in your opinions outmoded treaties, but, if you can violate one treaty what is to stop you from doing so again, even on those concerned with your borders, whenever it suits you?

    By violating a treaty you get a reputation of not having ANY credebility what so ever. Meaning, among other things that investors, banks and businesses will loose confidence in your ability to pay back debts and investments or you good will to do so in the future.

    You will be untrustworthy and will be viewed with suspicion by your allies as well as your enemies. So even if you want Egypt to come to some sort of deal, what is to stop them from thinking that in a few years you will violate the agreement again because it is then proven by your own actions that it is in your very soul and nature to be betray any and every agreement?

    What about your allies? Will they trust your word that you will no violate your agreement with them? Is there such a thing as honor among thieves? Not that anyone is accused of that but you get my meaning. Reputation counts in international legalities, finance, relations and treaties with other nations and institutions.

    Egypt has never in its history stopped other Nile countries from making use of the Nile in ways that don’t hurt its share. As a matter of fact, the Egyptian government has just approved almost $2b in major dam construction projects in Ethiopea for hydroelectric power generation.

    The fact stands that Egypt doesn’t want to stall other countries’ development, but just wants to make sure this development doesn’t come at the expense of starving the Egyptians. Egypt has probably given more help to other Nile countries over the years than almost any other state.

    If you ever travel to Kenya and – God forbid – get really sick, there is a decent chance that the doctor treating you will be Egyptian. If you travel to Darfur – the site of one of the worst civil wars/genocides in history – and you look at the African Union’s peace-keeping force in Darfur, you will see that it is small but trying to do its best, and you will also notice that the biggest contributor to this force is Egypt.

    If you travel to the predominantly Christian Southern Sudan and look for foreign investments in public education, you will find that the largest investments come from predominantly Muslim Egypt.Egypt is not colonizing or trying to dominate other Nile Basin countries. It’s trying to put its hands in these countries’ hands, and help them.

    So all these talks of saber rattling against Egypt will only harden their opinions and close the window on negotiations and will result in war. I do remind you that if you poison or cut others from the Nile, its the same as declaring total war and genocide.

    If Egypt is cornered in such a manner it will fight back with its entire arsenal, for it will have nothing to loose anyway because you in its opinion will have committed a holocaust against its people and it will return the favor.

    No less than 100 million people will die and for what? ask yourself this question will you kill you child while corrupt politicians engineer an international war using hydro-nationalism to hide their sins?

    Be fair to your children and to the Egyptians. Solve your internal problems first before you demand Egyptians to unconditionally surrender their lives to your corrupt governments’ politicians’ sins. Stop this saber-rattling before your children pay the price for this desert which you will create and be forced to call peace.

  12. The total amount of waterfall in the Nile Basin area exceed 1600 billion cubic meters annually. Only about 80 billion cubic meters of that annual rainfall make it into the Nile river, out of which Egypt’s share is only 55.5 billion cubic meters.

    In other words, countries like Ethiopia and Ughanda have 30 times as much water from other sources as Egypt’s Nile water share. They can use rain to grow crops.

    They can convert wet lands into environmentally friendly and productive orchards. But instead, these countries want to take a slice out of what Egypt claims as it’s share.

    Egypt’s share of the Nile water is assured by many, many treaties, not just the 1929 and 1959 treaties. Some of these treaties – such as, say, the 1902 blue Nile treaty – have been signed by kings and emperors of countries suh as Ethiopea, not just by colonial powers.

    The fact is: It rains in Kenya. It rains in Tanzania. It rains in Rwanda, Burundi, and Kongo. But it doesn’t rain in Egypt. To cut away at Egypt’s tiny share of the tiny Nile water flow is to starve 80 million Egyptians to death, meaning you will kill four times more people than Adolph Hitler and that is Genocide plain and simple!

  13. Mr Egyptians Who Think They can win a war on Ethiopian Soil

    Egypt has never spent a single day without war on Ethiopia directly and indirectly. You can read how many times the Egyptians tried to invade Ethiopia and control nile(abay). Its more than 100 times. But never succeded. Do you know why? Becuase thats where we are most skilled and have the experience. Thinking about WAR is obsolate and timeworn.

    Now is the 21st century, Egypt can’t invade and win a war againist Ethiopia. Egypt can’t last forever by threatening to use force and blocking aid and loans from the westren and WB.

    Wake up TANA BELES is built from the Finance of the Ethiopian government. It is built to generate electricity and the water is used fro irregation of more than 140000 hectrars of land. WE DIDN’T ASK THE EGYPTIAN PERMISSION TO DO THIS AND WE WILL NEVER DO THAT! IT IS THE BEGINING! THERE ARE THREE OTHER PROJECTS UNDRGONE WITH IN THIS FIVE YEAR BUDGET YEAR!


    The first stage is that the Egyptian officials should liston the Egyptians researchers and stop acting like they have the neccessry power to keep Ethiopia under control. Let alone Egypt in the 21st century, no country has done this. Besides the Ethiopian Economy is growing at the fastest rate wich inivatable stregthened the capacity of the country to finance its own projects. Egyptians should be clear that WAR and THREAT will worsen the situation! stop this hypocracy

    Second, forget about that obsolate Agreement that the Colonizer Britain made with itself.

    Third, Nile and other water sources are sufficient if the two countries begin to cooperate on mutual benefit basis. Negotiation on the basis of mutual goal is te only viable solution.


    If the two and other ountries failed to cooperate, Ethiopia continues to build as many dams we can and as much as we think is fair and Egypt can continue to threaten us.

    If it is war let it be, it means you haven’t get leson from the Battle of Gura and Gundent, and other wars that the two countries fought before. But If there is war, don’t forget that we need more water to use for the war. that means the amount of water will drastically decrease. I hope it won’t be


  14. This agreement and Tana Beles is the begining, it continues wether Egypt likes it or not! As u can see things are now changing except Egyptian towards Ethiopia!

    Tana Beles is also used to irregation of 140000 hectars of land no more water go to the tributary of Abbay from this project!

  15. One solution is: Let Egypt pay some money – say .25 cents per cubic meter. That probably is around 13 billion dollar. That means the more money they pay the much more water they get.

  16. The respondents who claim to be Egyptians appear to dramatize a situation which could be easily solved.First of all Abay(AKA blue Nile) is Ethiopia’s biggest river, the others like Omo,Awash,Tekeze,Wabi Shebele,etc may not equal Abay if added together.SO lets say volume of Nile water(Blue plus white)is about 90 billion m³, let say Egypt gets 30 billion m³, Ethiopia 30 billion m³ and Sudan and the other riparians 30 billion m³.
    If Egypt could agree with this the problem is solved.
    I think Egypt gets now 50 billion m³, it has to give up 20 billion m³ and will get peace and security in return.

    And Egypt can live with 20 billion m³ less water annually because it can use its underground water resources, or it can desalinate sea water. The other possibility is it can reduce its irrigated land,since Egypt uses most of the 50 billion m³ water for agriculture.

    Of course Egypt can reject such offers and go to war and see if it can win it.


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