FACTBOX: Nile river agreements and issues

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:47pm EDT

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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Ministers of water resources from Nile Basin countries are meeting in Alexandria, Egypt on July 27-28 to discuss cooperation and a conclusive Nile River framework agreement.

Following are facts and agreements governing the use of Nile river waters:

NILE BASIN COUNTRIES:

The nine Nile Basin countries attending the conference are Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

THE 1929 NILE WATERS AGREEMENT:

This agreement was signed between Egypt and Great Britain, which represented at the time Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Sudan. The document gave Cairo the right to veto projects higher up the Nile that would affect its water share.

THE 1959 AGREEMENT BETWEEN EGYPT AND SUDAN:

This accord between Egypt and Sudan, supplementing the previous agreement, gave Egypt the right to 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water a year and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic meters per year.

Both the 1929 and 1959 agreements have created resentment among other Nile states and calls for changes to the pact, resisted by Egypt.

THE CAIRO COOPERATION FRAMEWORK OF JULY 1993:

This framework was concluded between Egypt and Ethiopia, from which 85 percent of Egypt's water originates. Both countries pledged not to implement water projects harmful to the interests of the other and consult over projects to reduce waste and increase the flow of waters.

THE NILE BASIN INITIATIVE:

Formed in 1999, the initiative brings together Nile Basin countries to develop the river in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security.

THE NILE BASIN INITIATIVE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION:

This convention has yet to be agreed by all Nile Basin countries. Talks in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2009 over this new framework governing the use of Nile waters failed after Egypt refused to sign the deal. Egypt has argued that it would not approve any new framework that would deny it a right to 55.5 billion cubic meters of water a year and its veto powers over projects that would harm its allocation.

Source: Reuters, Nile Basin Initiative, Egypt State Information Service

(Writing by Maha El Dahan; editing by James Jukwey)

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