Home | News    Wednesday 20 October 2004

Sudanese MPs say Nile Basin Treaty with Egypt should be revised

KHARTOUM, Oct 20, 2004 (Al-Sahafah) — A number of Sudanese MPs asked yesterday to review the Nile Basin Treaty signed between Sudan and Egypt in 1959, regarding it as unfair to Sudan since it gives Sudan 18.5bn cu.m. in Aswan, which equals 20.5bn cu.m in central Sudan, out of which 16.5bn cu.m are used for irrigation projects.

MP Maj-Gen Ibrahim Nayyil Aydam said the 1959 Nile Basin Treaty was unfair to Sudan and it should be reviewed so that the rights of future generations may be protected and there "should be no problem about that".

Wondering why cannot Egypt renounce its right, he said: Why should it be us who have to renounce our right and accept injustice. He pointedly added why should we wait until tomorrow to have the treaty revised?

MP Abd al-Rahman al-Fadani further said desertification is now threatening Sudan and the country needs new agricultural projects, and that is why the treaty needs to be reviewed, a demand around which a number of MPs have agreed.

In his 2005 general plan to the parliament, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Eng Kamal Ali Muhammad stressed the need to strengthen cooperation with Egypt and other Nile Basin countries with which Sudan has bilateral agreements.

Replying to MPs questions on the Agricultural Affairs Committee report, which quoted his answers on Sudan’s share of the Nile waters, he said Sudan is not expecting to find enough Nile waters to irrigate all its cultivated land, pointing out that there is only 84bn cu.m which have to be shared by the 10 countries which make up the Nile River Basin.

The agricultural committee proposed to raise the level of some dams and set up purification plants and surface water plants to use the Nile waters and cooperate with the River Nile Basin countries, as well as signing agreements and cooperate in the use of waters.

The parliament sanctioned yesterday Egypt’s proposal to set up the parliamentarian forum of the River Nile basin countries.

The report submitted by the head of the Law and Justice Committee called for the revision of the laws and regulations on investment and integration of the financial markets in order to strengthen the potential of the 10 River Nile Basin countries, as well as to study ways to improve agriculture so as to achieve economic progress and food security, to combat desertification and work with governments to resolve conflicts between the 10 River Nile Basin countries by peaceful means, without giving any chance to foreign interference.

Material from the BBC Monitoring Service