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Egypt resists pressure to sign Nile water agreement

Sources in Egypt claim that officials from three Nile Basin countries are exercising pressure on Cairo to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement which would regulate the river between the countries through which it passes. The move would cancel Egypt's right to veto the building of dams and alter Egypt's quota of Nile water.

The Cooperative Framework Agreement was signed in May 2010, in Uganda, by six of the Nile Basin countries. Egypt, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) refused to sign.

The diplomatic sources said that three of the Nile Basin countries are "adopting a strict, extremist stance, and are seeking to capitalise on the difficult period that Egypt is going through and put pressure on Cairo to sign the agreement". As in 2010, Egypt and Sudan are holding firm and refusing to sign, pushing instead the Nile Basin Initiative to develop the river's resources and implement a number of projects serving the relative countries; all would be paid for by a Trust Fund supported by countries and institutions.

"Egypt and Sudan will not sign an agreement that would harm their interests and rights to the river's waters," claimed the sources. "The DRC is calling for moderation and good relations with Egypt and Sudan."

A meeting scheduled for 28 January in Nairobi to be attended by the appropriate ministers of the Nile Basin countries was postponed at the request of Egypt and Sudan. Both countries wanted more time to be given to their efforts with regards to the Nile Basin Initiative. Donors towards the initiative have set 2012 as a deadline for the projects to commence, failing which the cash will be withdrawn.

Middle EastNews
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