Ethiopia has hailed Egypt’s recent move to rejoin the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) after withdrawing it in 2010 objecting the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) deemed to put an end the colonial treaties on the Nile River.
Nile Council of Ministers (NILE-COM), an executive arm of the NBI, has received Egypt’s request last week while it was conducting the 24th annual meeting in Uganda, Kampala. During this meeting, an Egyptian Water Resources and Irrigation Minister, Mohammed Abdel Ati has revealed his country’s will to continue its participation at the Initiative.
“I would like to seize this opportunity to reaffirm Egypt’s sincere will to continue and build upon what we started in 1999, putting aside all the challenges and misunderstandings that may hinder our regional cooperation,” the Minister said.
The Nile-Com has appreciated Egypt’s interest to return and engage in cooperation with all countries of the basin, but awaited the decision to have more discussion, according to an Ethiopian official close to the issue.
Motuma Mekassa, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy has admired Egypt’s move. Nonetheless, Ethiopia would not allow renegotiation of the CFA, if this is the motive behind Egypt’s latest interest on NBI.
Egypt, halt its participation in the NBI in 2010 when many of riparian countries have adopted the Cooperative Framework Agreement replacing decades-old colonial pact that gave Egypt and Sudan use rights over more than 90 percent of the Nile’s waters.
The CFA, in its article 14 (b) stipulated an equitable sharing of the Nile water which is the cause for Egypt withdraw the intergovernmental initiative.
Except the two countries, Egypt and Sudan the remaining riparian’s have vowed their support to the CFA.
Six of them, Ethiopia, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have put their signature on the CFA while three countries, Ethiopia, Burundi and Tanzania have endorsed the CFA in their respective legislative organ.
A senior Ethiopian official has appreciated Egypt’s interest for cooperation but rejected the preconditions attached with it. According to the senior official, Egypt has an interest clearly presented to the Nile-COM calling for further discussion of the CFA.
This is unacceptable and not the right way for cooperation,” the official said explaining the basin countries effort by accepting the CFA as a legal document.