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| | |-+  Nile treaty talks start
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Author Topic: Nile treaty talks start  (Read 5620 times)
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« on: June 03, 2004, 09:40:05 AM »

Nile treaty talks start

Experts from African countries that share the Nile River’s waters began another round of talks on Monday intended to help draw up a new agreement on how the vast resource is utilized.

Ten African countries began negotiating how best to replace the 75-year-old Nile Basin Treaty last December because of tensions between the nations over the use of the river.

The treaty was signed in 1929 by Egypt and Britain on behalf of its colonies and it bars nine African nations from using the river in a way that would reduce the volume of water reaching Egypt.

At the time the treaty was signed, Egypt was Britain’s key source of cotton, which depends on irrigation from the Nile, the world’s longest river.

"These people (the experts) will advise their respective ministers on the future equitable use of the Nile waters," said Meraji Msuya, head of the Nile Basin Initiative, which is headquartered in the Ugandan town of Entebbe, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Kampala.

"They will come out with new recommendations, a new legal framework." The 10 Nile Basin countries — Burundi, Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda— surround the fabled 6,700-kilometer (4163-miles) river and the streams and lakes from which it springs.

The White Nile, which begins at Lake Victoria, is joined in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, by the Blue Nile, which draws water from the highlands of western Ethiopia. The combined river flows through northern Sudan and Egypt until it empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

Tanzania has not recognized the Nile Basin Treaty since independence from Britain in 1962. In recent years, Kenyan lawmakers have called on their government to re-negotiate the agreement.

Experts have warned that Africa could face water wars in future if the continent’s rivers aren’t properly shared.

All the Nile Basin countries are poor nations, and the river and its sources provide vital resources for irrigation, fishing and power. The basin serves about 300 million people. —Reuters



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