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Nile Basin nations call for stronger relations

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June 22, 2013 (JUBA) – Members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) have been urged to deepen cooperation among them to enable inhabitants of the River Nile basin enjoy its tangible benefits.

Minister of water resources and irrigation, Paul Mayom Akec (ST)

The call came at the end of a one-day Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) conference, which was held last Thursday in Juba, the South Sudan capital.

The meeting, among others, addressed strategic issues to advance the Nile cooperation as well as operational business issues within NBI countries.

The conference, Nile-COM chairperson in a statement, resolved that cooperation is the only way forward to achieve the shared vision of sustainable socio-economic development, through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources.

“The Nile is one of the world’s great assets and its sustainable management and development is essential if the countries of the Nile Basin are to continue to reduce poverty and to gain economic prosperity”, Paul Mayom Akec said in a statement.

Nile-COM, Akec further noted, applauded Sudan’s resumption in the full participation of NBI activities, after its suspended last year over differences with other countries on the Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA).

“Nile-COM members call upon the Arab Republic of Egypt to follow the example of Sudan and return to the cooperation platform for Nile issues, the Nile Basin Initiative that it has contributed to building”, the statement reads in part.

Akec, also South Sudan’s minister for water and irrigation, pledged to strengthen the Nile cooperation and work towards member states’ continued support to NBI, which he described as the only viable mechanism for equitable resource utilisation.

The one-day conference, among others, discussed institutional strengths of NBI countries, investment financing, transboundary water resources analysis, donor partnerships and NBI business activities.

Meanwhile, Sudan has been earmarked as host of the next Nile-COM meeting, expected to place, mid-next year.

Established in 1999, NBI serves as a forum through which member states seek to develop the River Nile in a cooperative manner, share substantial socio-economic benefits and promote regional peace and security.

(ST)

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