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Ethiopia Freezes Nile Water Treaty in Sign of Thaw With Egypt

May 3, 2011

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has told a visiting Egyptian delegation he will freeze consideration of a treaty that would reverse colonial-era agreements giving Egypt and Sudan rights to 90 percent of the Nile’s water. Six upper riparian states have signed the deal, clearing the way for ratification. But downstream countries Egypt and Sudan have refused.

Ethiopia’s ambassador to Egypt Mohamoud Dirir Gheddi said the delay is a goodwill gesture to allow Egypt time to elect a new government following the popular uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

“Ethiopia, having seen the current situation in Egypt, where they need to establish their own government and go through a democratic process of election of their president, sees that it is sane and wise to wait for Egypt and give her time. So it is by way of freezing the ratification at parliament that process will be delayed until such time as Egypt comes up with its own popularly elected government,” Dirir said.

Members of the Egyptian delegation say they received a similar assurance from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during a visit to Kampala last month. Delegation leader Mustafa el Gindy said the 47-member group asked for a delay of up to a year.

“Six months or a year because we need to stabilize, we need to finalize our revolution. We got Mubarak, we got his ministry, but 30 years of Mubarak in Egypt, there is a lot of ‘Mubarak underground’ who want to kill this revolution. Then we need the time, the year is a maximum to get back strong enough, to sit all together,” el Gindy said.

The water-sharing dispute gained new urgency last month when Ethiopia announced it is building a huge 5,000-megawatt power project on the Nile, close to the Sudanese border. El Gindy said the announcement frightened many Egyptians, who were told for decades by the Mubarak government that Ethiopia was trying to steal their water.

“I told the prime minister, 30 years of Mubarak made the Egyptians (think) they don’t trust you. They think you are the man who wants to kill them and cut the water on them,” el Gindy said.

Ethiopia’s ambassador Dirir Gheddi says the Mubarak government contributed to the unfriendly atmosphere by blocking international funding for an Ethiopian power project on the Nile.

“There was a baggage of suspicion created by the former regime vis-a-vis Ethiopia that Ethiopia is a conspiring country against Egypt, and of course Egypt has conspired against Ethiopia in the past, persuading international donors like the IMF and World Bank not to fund projects in Ethiopia related to the Nile River,” Dirir said.

Egyptian delegation leader el Gindy says that when all Nile riparian countries reach a deal on water sharing, institutions like the World Bank and IMF will be knocking on their door to fund power generation projects.

News agencies say Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf will visit Ethiopia later this month to follow up on the work of the public diplomacy delegation.

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7 comments on “Ethiopia Freezes Nile Water Treaty in Sign of Thaw With Egypt

  1. Who knows! We will only know when which side of the bed our great leader woke up on, or maybe until Egypt becomes a fully-fledged democracy like our Country. “One man,One vote”,that man is our great leader.
    BUT, I can assure you he will not stop collecting the money.

  2. ok am up for thar. that will be the greatest mockery… i suppose you meant dear leader!

  3. Our Dear Leader,with his wisdom and foresight,plus his eagerness for democracy to flourish all over Egypt like
    in our country,has, i understand, suspended the Renaisance Dam project for six months,until Egypt gets a great leader like us ,preferably by being elected with no less than 99.6% of the votes.
    However,the Dear leader expects “contributions”to continue non-stop,as it can also: A) will help control inflation as money circulation is reduced in the system.B) If it does not,the original 5yr.investment bond purchase price has no provision for inflation or devaluation,so,investor might be lucky to recoup 5&#xpr;ofit of nothing, as the money will be worthless by about 40% on current trends.The dear Leader” wins”on both secnarios.
    I dread to think for us,his dear little people……….UNLESS…

  4. Its me again … AM I THE ONLY ONE, OR HAS ANYBODY ELSE WONDERED WHERE IS `OUR` MAN OF THE MILLENIUM,…..THE GREAT ETHIOPIAN BORN SAUDI PHILANTHROPIST….THE ye-KURTKEN LIJ OF OUR COUNTRY,…………. em,JUST WONDERING. I see all sorts of yenebite` Contributing and buying bonds. Sorry i have a tiny but a curious mind.

  5. Amazing how African countries are still working their way out from colonial time agreements. Western Countries took their precious time dividing regions in Africa so they can administer well and pump African resources out to their respected countries. It is high time we banish this old time agreements and renegotiate factual and updated treaties. Ethiopia and Egypt have to sign new ‘water belonging’ agreements.
    If we can consider pure geographical logic the Nile runs through the 9 following countries:
    Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and last but not LEAST Egypt.
    The water belongs respectfully to every and each country stated above, PERIOD.

    I don’t know for the none believers, nor the Islamic Ethiopians… but most Christian Ethiopians pray and bless Meles Zenawi for he can come through with what God has planned for Ethiopia, to raise her up again.
    With our Prime Minister leading us, all the world will soon witness that associating words like famine to Ethiopia, or any other saying like Ethiopians are lazy will be banished, crushed and thrown into the deepest furness so Ethiopia will rise from her ashes… and Ethiopian Nation will gain back, long lost true identity, a proud… God fearing, neighbor loving Nation!
    God bless our Leader, God bless Ethiopia!!! God bless all the sacrifice that is being payed for this project! God bless you all who participate… May Yahweh increase your number!!!

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