Ethiopian parliament ratifies new Nile sharing agreement opposed by Egypt (AP)

June 13th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s parliament on Thursday ratified an accord that replaces colonial-era deals that awarded Egypt and Sudan the majority of the world’s longest river.

The vote comes amid a bout of verbal jousting between Ethiopia and Egypt after Ethiopia last month started to divert Nile waters for a massive $4.2 billion hydro-electric dam dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Ethiopia’s growing economy frequently suffers from power cuts and needs more electrical capacity. But Egypt fears the dam will mean a diminished share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation’s water needs.

Egyptian politicians have suggested attacks against Ethiopia to sabotage the dam, and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Monday warned that “all options are open” to challenge Ethiopia’s Nile project.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn responded Tuesday, forcefully vowing “nothing” and “no one” will stop the dam’s construction. He downplayed the prospect of conflict, saying Egypt leaders won’t go to war unless they “go mad.”

African Union head Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Wednesday urged dialogue and cooperation between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

A 10-person Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia experts panel concluded that the dam will not “significantly affect” water flow to Egypt and Sudan, according to Ethiopian officials. Sudan said it accepts the outcome of the finding and this week announced that it supports Ethiopia’s project.

Ethiopia’s 547-member parliament unanimously endorsed the new Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement, an accord already signed by five other Nile River countries.

The accord, sometimes referred to as the Entebbe Agreement, is the product of decade-long negotiations. It was conceived to replace the 1929 treaty written by Britain that awarded Egypt veto power over upstream countries’ Nile projects. Sudan and Egypt signed a deal in 1959 splitting the Nile waters between them without giving other countries consideration.

The new cooperative agreement — signed by Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi — aims to establish a commission to oversee Nile projects. Congo and South Sudan, which succeeded from Sudan in 2011, have announced plans to join the new pact. Eritrea is participating as an observer in the 10-nation Nile Basin Initiative.

Egypt has previously said that it accepts most of the new agreement. But it opposes a clause saying member countries would work to ensure “not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.” Egypt wanted the clause to say countries would not “adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile” states.

Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu told parliament that Ethiopia made two bold decisions concerning the dam. The first, he said, was to postpone ratification of the agreement by a year to accommodate Egypt’s request for time until an elected government was in place.

“The second one was to let experts, including from Egypt and Sudan, inspect our Renaissance Dam,” he said. “No other country does this but we did it in cooperation and friendly spirit. But we are seeing how our good intentions are being responded to. We can no longer wait. We need to go ahead with the ratification.”

After ratifying the legislation, lawmakers called on the other five signatory countries to follow suit.

Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam has been under construction for two years on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region near Sudan.

  1. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #1

    Good for them. I am glad they did that. In the meantime I have watched the ‘famous’ Egyptian cabinet meeting video many times over and over again. I just can’t get over it. It is just like very funny skit on David Letterman or Jay Leno shows especially the section that shows the very ‘revered’ scholar from Al-Azhar University. That is the funniest skit I have seen this year or this century. He believes that Israel(Ezreel to him) and Ethiopia are currently constructing and laying a subterranean pipeline that stretches from the dam site in Ethiopia all the way to Israel(Ezreel according to him). Hello!!!! If I ever have a chance to cross paths with this elderly man I will tell him that USA(Amreeka) is now sending its top engineers to Ethiopia to learn from this new engineering feat!!!! According to this ‘scholar’ Israel(Ezreel) is everywhere including in his soup, cup of tea, the pound of halwa he is gulping every day and the Good Ole’ USA(Amreeka) in her tow. I just can get over this section of the video. But on a serious side, such fabricated and sensationalized stories are everyday phenomena in the part of the world. Do you remember the speech the wife of Yasser Arafat made in the presence of Hillary Clinton in Ramallah in 1999. She claimed that Israel(Ezreel) tainted the water supply of Palestinian households in the West bank to target only Palestinian women that gave them ovarian cancer or cancers that target their reproductive organs. According to her ‘findings’ the poison does not affect men but just women, and Palestinian women only. Peew!!!! Mind you this lady is an educated person who received her advanced education in France. She had organized protest demonstration based on this twisted and false accusation. At the time it made me wonder if this very educated woman really believed in what she was saying. She really did. Folks!! This is just one of many fantasies and false allegations being fabricated on the daily basis in that part of the world. I myself have a firsthand experience right here in the USA. This was around 1978-79. One day I decided to take my family to a Persian Restaurant for a birthday treat. We met young couples who were having meals next to our table at the restaurant. It was a turbulent year in Iran and all you hear on the media is about this fascinating person called Ayatollah Khomeini. I asked one of them to describe this leader and how is different from ordinary religious people. He told me that he was conceived pure and his mother never ate animal products during her pregnancy and was strictly vegetarian. And that made him pure and saint before and after birth. Mind you again. The person who told me this was a well educated person in engineering. I struggled hard to hold back my laughter at that hilarious claim and moved on to subjects pertinent to our personal and daily lives. So on our way back home, I jokingly told my wife not to eat any animal products including milk or eggs during her next pregnancy. We were laughing all the way back home. During my stay in the Middle East during the 1960′s I have heard so many fabrications such as this one that drove many to their demise and to no avail. They just don’t fabricate such fallacies against their ‘sworn’ enemy Israel(Ezreel) and USA(Amreeka) but also against each other. Sunnis against Shias, Shias against Sunnis, Muslims against other religions and convictions and Arabs against the rest of Africans. I can write volumes upon volumes of such fallacies I have witnessed myself. I m glad the rest of you have witnessed yourself in this video. That is what the better sensible Sadat used to call it Arab psychology. It makes you and me laugh but mind you such fallacies have been used by so-called religious scholars to incite their own people and drove them to do harm to innocent others and in the process to their needless deaths. In the meanwhile, I am wondering what our folks in Minnesota think about being called ‘it’ by their new sponsors and host, the Salafis. Any reaction? Hello!!!!!! You are not people any more but rather some inhuman ‘its’. Hello!!! Where are you? Hello!!!!!

  2. Ethiopis
    | #2

    No one can benefit from war .

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