Ethiopia rejects Egypt Nile claims, Zenawi said Egypt’s approach is out of date

Meles zenawi

Ethiopia’s prime minister has rejected a threat by Egypt to prevent the building of dams and other water projects upstream on the Nile river.

Meles Zenawi told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that Egypt will not be able to stop his country from building dams on the river.

His comments came nearly a week after Ethiopia joined Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania in signing a new treaty on the equitable sharing of the Nile, despite strong opposition from Egypt and Sudan who have the major share of the river waters.

Meles zenawi
Zenawi said Egypt's approach to the distribution of the Nile is out of date

The Nile flows through 10 African nations, but the distribution of its waters among each Nile basin country has long been a source of tension in the region.

Historic agreements have given Egypt and Sudan veto power over upstream projects that could affect the flow of water.

But the agreement signed last week by four of the Nile Basin countries marked the creation of a new commission to manage the water.

Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to sign within a year.

‘Old-fashioned ideas’

Egypt has warned that the agreement lacks legitimacy.

But Zenawi told Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons that Egypt’s approach is out of date.

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“Some people in Egypt have old-fashioned ideas based on the assumption that the Nile water belongs to Egypt, and that Egypt has a right to decide who gets what, and that the upper [Nile basin] countries are unable to use the Nile water because they will be unstable and they will be poor,” he said.

“These circumstances have changed and changed forever.

“Ethiopia is not unstable. Ethiopia is still poor, but it is able to cover the necessary resources to build whatever infrastructure and dams it wants on the Nile water.”

The upstream countries want to be able to implement irrigation and hydro-power projects in consultation with Egypt and Sudan, but without Egypt being able to exercise the veto power it was given by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain.

Legal action threatened

Egypt, however, has warned that Cairo’s water rights are a “red line” and it threatened legal action if a unilateral deal was reached.

But Zenawi dismissed the warning, saying it would not solve the dispute at hand.

“The way forward is not for Egypt to try and stop the unstoppable. The way forward is to seek a win-win solution through diplomatic efforts,” he said.

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Al Jazeera’s Amr El Kahky, reporting from Cairo, said Egyptian government officials said such statements undermine the spirit of co-operation between the Nile Basin Initiative countries.

“A government official told me that Egypt does not oppose the development of these countries,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, Egypt does not want to see the flow of the Nile and the water share of the Nile being hindered or reduced.”

Water supply fears

The new agreement, the Nile Basin Co-operative Framework, is to replace a 1959 accord between Egypt and Sudan that gave them control of more than 90 per cent of the water flow.

The two countries have expressed fears that their water supply would be severely reduced if the seven other Nile users divert the river with domestic irrigation and hydro-power projects.

The Nile Basin Initiative, which had been spearheading the talks, will now become the Nile Basin Commission and will receive, review and approve or reject projects related to Africa’s longest river.

The commission will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, and have representation from all nine Nile Basin countries.

Source: Al jazeera

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18 Comments

  1. Yea fuck this haji motherfuckers enough is enough it’s time 2 use what’s ours we feed them this long they can go straight 2 hell if they don’t like it. Lol

  2. I hate to say this but Why now all this Nile agreement and BURA KEREYU? where were they all this time? I think this is another way distracting the people from the so called election and trying to get some vote.

  3. Ethiopian foreign politics of the last 50 years or so was a disaster in terms of advancing the interest of the country and preventing damage from abroad and brought greatest damage to the country.
    Our foreign policy in terms of advancing our interest and preventing harm from the country was bad during the Haile Selassie era,worse during the Derg era(dont forget Derg gave up Djibouti) and worst during the era of Meles.

    An important reason for that was the general lack of knowledge about the world. That was so because of stupidity and failure of our governments in properly educating and informing our people about foreign countries that are of interest for Ethiopia.
    The education system and the media are to blame first and foremost.
    In general the understanding of Ethiopians about foreign countries is poor. That needs to be changed.

  4. Ohh!! what can i say for this brilliant leader . The only thing i say is;>>>>> ጥቂት ሰዎች አልተረዱህም ፤አንተ ግን አሁንም ጀግና ነህ፡፡የግብጽ አምባገነንነትን በዲፕሎማሲያዊና በሰላማዊ መንገድ ማንበርከክህ!!!! አንድ ነገር እወቅ ጊዜአችን ነውና የኢትዮጵያ አምላክ አንተን እየተጠቀመብህ ነው፡፡
    እግዚአብሔርካንተ ጋር ይሁን!!

    አምላክ ኢትዮጵያን ይባርክ !!

  5. Wow, Ethiopia was looking such leader for the past 3000years. Now she has got it and the people are with you in the utilization of ABAY. They have fulled us for long by creating conflict among ourselves. Now time has come to look for ourselves and the right person for this is P.M. Meles Zenawi.
    Wonderful leadership and will be Nobled if you protect the comming election from any interference of some undemocratic government officials.

  6. wow how interesting, hero-praisers. This “great hero” and “the EPDRF that is winning”, who is supposedly fighting for the Nile has given Ethiopia’s sovereign lands to Sudan and Djibouti. yes, definately a prophet sent by God…such an intelligent analysis you have there. did God give you that for the “millennnium” too?

  7. ethiopians should be proud of there resources …no one should not use ours with out ze intrest of ethiopia and etjiopians ………EPRDF FOREVER

  8. to Enigma,,,,

    u said

    ” Our foreign policy in terms of advancing our interest and preventing harm from the country was bad during the Haile Selassie era,worse during the Derg era(dont forget Derg gave up Djibouti) and worst during the era of Meles.An important reason for that was the general lack of knowledge about the world”
    …it is interesting comment…Never the ethiopian foreign policy has been as best as today…and u talk about lack of knowledge..this shows u’r shallow information about the matter and itis a goddamn idea as u’r name…it is very gimatam idea..ha ha ha…

  9. Through any logic i try to reason the Egyptian idea of how to use Nile, all i can see is that it is just simply wrong that Ethiopia and other lower basin countries should be just a spectators in the development of the river by the upper Nile basin while we Ethiopians suffer from poverty. The one thing we are wrong about is that we didn’t use this gift till now.

  10. አባይ ሃብታችን ንብረታችን ነው:: ሃብታችን ለመተከም የማንም ፈካድ አያስፈልገንም ለዘመናት ሉአላዊነትዋን አስከብራ የኖረች አገራቺን ዛሪም ማንም በራሳችን ጉዳይ ላይ ጣንቃ ገብቶ እንዲበተቢተን አንፈቅድም:: የአባይ ጉዳይ የህልውናችን ጉዳይ ነው: ለዘመናት ብድርቅ
    በሃይል እጥረት ስትቸገር ለኖረችው አገራችን: ህዝባችን መፍትሂ ሊሆነን ነው እና::
    ማንም ኢትዮጵያዊ ዪሂን ጉዳይ በቀላሉ አይመለከተውም:: ይህ የመንግስት እና የፖለቲከኞች ጉዳይ ብቻ አይደለም: ይህ የ 80 ሚሊዮን ህዝብ ጉዳይ ነው:: ማንም ጠመንጃ ከማንገብ ወደሃላ አይልም!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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