Home | News    Thursday 24 June 2004

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia discuss Nile River projects

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CAIRO, June 24 (AFP) — Ministers from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday to discuss exploiting the waters of the Nile, the state MENA news agency said.

The three water ministers were scheduled to discuss drinking water projects, the building of hydro-electric power stations, and the establishment of experimental farms and fishing zones in depressed areas, MENA said.

Colonial-era agreements imposed by Britain prohibit Nile basin states other than Egypt from undertaking projects that would reduce the river’s flow.

But in 1999 Egypt finally agreed with the other nine littoral states to thrash out a new framework for sharing the river’s resources.

Ethiopian minister Shiferaw Jarso said water could be "better managed, better exploited," stressing that "integrated management of the Nile is in the interest of all countries in the river basin".

Egypt’s independent press regularly writes about dam construction projects under way in Ethiopia, allegedly in cooperation with Israel, which could slacken the flow of water and impact on Cairo’s Nile water supply.

But Egyptian water resources minister, Mahmud Abu Zeid, said Ethiopia had the "right" to build dams and looked forward to cooperating with it on the matter.

Some 85 percent of the Nile’s flow comes down the Blue Nile from Ethiopia.

A fresh round of talks among the 10 Nile basin states on a new regulatory framework broke up without agreement in Kampala earlier this month.

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