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News Sudan, Egypt Told to Reconsider Position On Nile Waters

Juba-The South Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hon. Paul Mayom Akec has urged Sudan and Egypt to reconsider their position in the affairs of the Nile Waters and membership to the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).

"I want to appeal specifically to Sudan and Egypt to reconsider their positions and become effective members of the NBI that they participated in founding. They will have more influence in the NBI than in isolation," said Mayom on Tuesday.

The minister made the appeal while briefing the press on NBI's 21st Nile Council Of Ministers meeting scheduled for 20 June 2013 at Juba Grand Hotel.

NBI is a regional bloc within the River Nile basin comprising of Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda formed to develop, manage the waters of River Nile in an equitable and sustainable manner to ensure prosperity, security and peace for its entire people.

The minister said Egypt and Sudan cannot settle their variation in views on the management and usage of River Nile waters through isolation.

There is a hovering conflict over the new outlook of the Nile Basin among the other eight member countries of NBI. Egypt and Ethiopia are already in conflict over the plans of the latter to construct a mega hydropower dam on the Nile.

The 1929 Nile Water agreement gives Sudan and Egypt 12 and 66 percent say over the general management and usage of the Nile waters. This however is being opposed by the NBI member countries now.

The South Sudanese Water Minister said construction of a dam by Ethiopia is its legitimate right but called for amicable solution between the two countries.

"For Ethiopia to develop a dam on the Nile, it's their legitimate right as long as the power project does not reduce the water volume," he said.

"We all need the power and preserve our environment. The shift to hydro power serves our environment because instead of using trees for power, we use hydro power," he argued.

On question of whether Egypt will not complain about South Sudan's plans of building a dam at Fulla Falls in Nimule, Eastern Equatoria State (EES), Mayom said Egypt does not have any grounds to reject the project.

He appealed to the members of NBI to give the regional bloc continuous support for the benefit of the people of Nile the Nile Basin.

This month, South Sudan's Minister of Water resources would take over the chair of the Nile Council of Ministers of NBI from his Rwandese counterpart Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi.

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information All Africa
Geographical coverage Egypt, Sudan
News date 03/07/2013
Working language(s) ENGLISH