Egypt seeks coordination with Sudan on Nile waters

August 12th, 2011 | by addis portal |

August 11, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir received a letter today from Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi who heads Egypt’s Supreme military council that is running the country since president Hosni Mubarak was ousted earlier this year.

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Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling military council (Reuters)

The message was delivered by Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hesham Qandeel who started a two-day visit to Khartoum today.

Qandeel said the letter is related to bilateral ties and continuous coordination with regard to Nile basin issues and revealed the intention to hold tripartite meeting that would include Ethiopia to discuss the dam Addis Ababa intends to build.

Sudan and Egypt have jointly launched a diplomatic offensive against a treaty signed by six of the Nile’s upstream countries – Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania , Rwanda and Burundi – to alter shares of the Nile water as defined in a colonial-era accord which gives Egypt the lion’s share of the water and the right to veto Nile projects proposed by other countries.

Egypt is strongly opposed to plans by Ethiopia to build a multi-billion dollar mega dam along its share of the Nile near the Sudanese border.

However, Ethiopia insists that the dam will benefit the countries downstream with a better regulated water flow, increase the electrical capacity of the region and lower water-loss due to evaporation.

Under a 1929 pact, Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic meters a year of the Nile’s flow of around 84 billion cubic meters.

Egypt, threatened by rising temperatures and a growing population, is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its water and has been nervously watching hydropower dam projects take shape in upriver nations.

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