Home | News    Saturday 4 December 2010

Wikileaks: Egypt lobbied for south Sudan referendum to be delayed

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December 4, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – Last year Sudan’s northern neighbor, Egypt, lobbied to the United States to postpone southern Sudan’s self determination referendum by four to six years as it feared that the new nation could put its share of the Nile’s water in jeopardy according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.


In the cable, Cairo said southern secession in 2011 could have "fatal implications". Egypt believes that the south’s independence could destabilize the region causing an increase in migrants into Egypt.

South Sudan’s plebiscite was agreed as part of a 2005 peace deal between former southern rebels and the Sudanese government, which was witnessed by Egypt as well as the US.

The cable from October 2009 said that the likely vote in favor of separation “would be the creation of a ’non-viable’ state that could threaten Egypt’s access to the Nile waters".

Egypt is in dispute with other nations in the Nile basin over the amount water it is allocated from a colonial era agreement with Britain, which gives Egypt the majority of the rivers water.

Ethiopia has led a group of African countries in calling for a renegotiation of the agreement to “achieve sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources."

Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia signed the new pact in May inviting other Nile riparian countries to sign the deal within a year. Sudan has so far sided with Egypt in the dispute.

The leaked cable said that discussions over between Egypt and other Nile basin nations were "tense."

In the past, Egypt has threatened to go to war with any country that tampers with the Nile. It appears that Egypt fears that a newly independent Southern Sudan could take a different stance than Khartoum and side with Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia in order to be able to use more the White Nile’s water.

Negotiations between the north and south ahead of the referendum have so borne little fruit so far although last week the two sides agreed a preliminary agreement to share Nile waters if the south votes to go its own way in January.

The leaked cable from the US embassy in Egypt, published Cairo’s Almasry Alyoum newspaper, was one of 600 US documents released by the Wikileaks organization. These are the first of 251,000 classified US diplomatic and military cables Wikileaks plan to release.

In last year’s, cable Egyptian officials asked the US to "educate" southern leaders on potential dangers of separation and encourage the US to advocate for the Africa’s largest country to remain united.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan’s south and the Khartoum government share power and the south’s oil wealth for a six year interim period.

Egypt suggested that the deal be amended to give the south autonomy for a ten year period rather than the six years initially agreed. This period Egypt said would allow the region to develop south Sudan’s "capacity for statehood".

In April 2009 a separate cable said that Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was told by Egypt’s spy chief Omar Suleiman that "Egypt does not want a divided Sudan."

On Friday Egyptian newspaper, Al Masry Al Youm, reported that ‘Egyptian companies with investments in Sudan are considering several possible scenarios for dealing with the outcome’ January’s poll, although officials said the result would not affects investments in either the south or north.

The report said that Egyptian investment in Sudan in 2010 reached $2.5 billion making it the third largest Arab investor in Sudan.

(ST)

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  • 4 December 2010 06:30, by Ahmed Chol

    Egypt is an evil Country ruled by a dictator, it has no moral values.

    In south Sudan, we lost blood not water but Egypt will loose both if it is still living in a colonial era.

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    • 4 December 2010 08:30, by Genuine Leader

      Egypt still sickminded repeated same past mistakes intentionally against south sudan, but this time’ Egypt must choose onething only,be with us or with khartoum,if with khartoum, make sure that you and khartoum will lost both waters and Arabization even white house. Egypt shuold learnt from current international landscape, where Qatar took all advantages against you and now one will listen to your devilish lies and your white lie gossips spy.

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    • 4 December 2010 09:11, by humanbeing

      Egyp, shut up, our independent is imminent no matter what you said, moreover, we are not under colonial rule any more. therefore, you have no authority to claim the water from nile as you claimed the treaty that was sign by Britain in 1929, Sudan got independent 1956. just ask sudanese nicely to allow you to use water, but do not talk about postponing of referudem, we have seen you in past, how evil you are, you just want to survive on our blood.

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  • 4 December 2010 07:55, by Maruon Ayiei

    Egypt might be crazy to think the delay is the alternative to this problem. This is a century war which the south will not give up. All the tactic will water down one way or another. However, the SPLM will not have to give submission to this outragous play by the Egyptain, or they will loss the support as vailable party in the south. No more surprise in 2010.

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  • 4 December 2010 08:13, by Marco A. Wek

    Yes, brother Gatwech, you are right to say Egypt is evil and there is no doubt about that, however, they can lobby to the USA about their annual food ration but not about our affairs. This is a greedy ruled by a dictator that occupied part of Sudan land and who has a lion share of our African Nile Waters.

    I congratulate our sister country leader, Mr. Melese Zenowi and the other sisterly African countries for rejecting monopoly of our waters by this evi country. Long live to the true sons of Africa and have real open eyes for those who live in our continent, benefit from it and who still don’t believe of being Africans.

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    • 4 December 2010 08:41, by Genuine Leader

      yes Marco Egypt should be lobby foods from usaid not our affairs, Egypt,forgot that,they remain in political desert where no west will listening to them because they just pretenders beggers who send Washington white lies espionage information to get food for our blood.

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  • 4 December 2010 09:41, by dansu

    This is the stuff that the Western Sahara offical was warnning about recently, so we must handle these things carefully. And we should also try and put ourself in the Egyptian feet they live in a desert. So while we must not sacrifice our freedom to satisfy their demands, we must also compromise by ensuring that will only use what we "NEED", after all we only have a right to the water we do not own it. And by the way, they don’t own the water either, so they shouldn’t be telling anyone how much to use.

    And all the Nile basin countries should back Ethiopia on voiding the colonial agreemtn which Egypt has been using as its bases.

    Think about it
    Deng

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    • 4 December 2010 10:00, by Sudani Logik

      Well said Deng.

      This is the problem with imperialism, Egypt & US and many other countries still have the mentality of dictating to others how to exist. Neither Egypt or the US should have too much influence in the private affairs of our country.

      Those of you who think Egypt is worst than the EU or US are grossly mistaken thay all have geo-political strategies that do not necessarily serve the interest of our country.

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  • 4 December 2010 10:01, by Erermeres kururpra

    There’s nothing new with egypt wanting south to live under khartoum rule for water issue.Egypt is worried because the current percentage of water she uses was gruarateed under British colonial rule and she may not be able to get it her self by any means once she loses it.wether Egpyt like it or not south sudan is already an independent state and the best thing egypt should do is to join the south to do water related business rather than provoking nile basin;or she can dig to create her own nile water source within her soil if she wants to use it alone.

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    • 4 December 2010 12:04, by Genuine Leader

      Egytp, must answer Bush question,be with us or with terrorists? juba/khartoum

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  • 4 December 2010 18:30, by kaci-banno

    What kind of education that Egypt asked USA to educate the government of South Sudan? Problems in Sudan was caused by Egypt and still he is planning on it. Egypt with his greedy heart occupied Northern Sudan territory halib. Egypt killed our fellow southerners last time in Cairo. Southern Sudan will never compromise with such self interested of Egypt. Our Niles, resources, oil , African gum it’s belong to the people of Southern Sudan not any neighbor countries, let Egypt frustrate by his plan.

    By: Kaci-Ma-banno

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  • 4 December 2010 19:35, by Tobiin

    The Egyptians must distance themselves from Sudanese politic or theirs will be worse than what we have now in Sudan.

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  • 5 December 2010 01:41, by 1988

    Sudani Logik

    "This is the problem with imperialism, Egypt & US and many other countries still have the mentality of dictating to others how to exist. Neither Egypt or the US should have too much influence in the private affairs of our country.

    Those of you who think Egypt is worst than the EU or US are grossly mistaken thay all have geo-political strategies that do not necessarily serve the interest of our country."

    Couldn’t agree more. The GoSs and the people of south Sudan need to realize that the Arabs to are north are not our enemy’s we need to live and let live and the same premise needs to be realized by those in the north.

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