AFRICANGLOBE – Some Nile Basin countries are concerned that they have been kept in the dark on the tripartite negotiations involving Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the use of the Nile waters.
The talks were prompted by the decision by Ethiopia to construct the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, but concerned countries say they are being conducted behind the scenes.
Ugandan ambassador to Egypt Richard Angualia said that the rest of the Nile Basin countries were hoping that those involved in the tripartite talks would come out and brief them because they are important members of the Great Lakes region.
“We hear they keep on talking behind the scenes but we are not aware of what they are talking about and how far they have gone,” said Mr Angualia.
But Egyptian government spokesman and the Director of Public Diplomacy Badr Abdellatty argued that the issue was between three countries, and that the progress report would be revealed after a meeting of water ministers from the three countries scheduled for Khartoum on December 8.
“We are having dialogue with everybody concerned and we believe the Nile waters belong to every stakeholder, and every country can benefit without hurting the interest of any country. The fact that we are not announcing the progress does not mean that we have ulterior motives,” said Dr Abdellatty.
He said Egypt would continue to dialogue with all the 10 Nile Basin countries based on mutual interest because the aim was for them to achieve the three pillars of water, energy and economic development.
Egypt had expressed concern that the planned lake adjacent to the Grand Renaissance Dam will be filled by 74 billion cubic metres within three years, which will affect the flow of water to the country. Cairo wanted the lake to be filled within a period of 10 years.
In June, a report by the International Panel of Experts regarding the Grand Renaissance Dam, showed that the $4.7 billion dam, with a capacity of 6,000MW, will not have any major effect on lower riparian countries of Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt, however, insisted that some deficiencies still needed to be cleared before the project is implemented.
By: Fred Oluoch