Monday, April 8, 2013

Egypt’s Morsi says no Nile River crisis, fears abound

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday attempted to dispel fears that rifts were continuing to create tension between Egypt, Sudan and the rest of the Nile Basin countries. His comments came after months of wrangling after a report suggested Egypt was ready to attack Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam project if it went forward.
“Egypt’s ties stumbled in the past, but now we are together, with possibilities of enhancing cooperation that satisfies the interests of all sides,” Morsi told reporters at the end of a two-day visit in Sudan.
“Mutual talks in this respect are currently ongoing, and we welcome the restoration of old relations with Africa,” Morsi added.
However, he did not talk specifically about the demands of other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, which has long pushed to have their own rights to the world’s longest river. Sudan and Egypt are seen as two allies and stalwart in their antagonism against other Nile River countries, especially concerning any dam projects.
Despite Egypt and Sudan’s war of words against Ethiopia and the dam project, Addis Ababa has said it will go forward with the project as part of its energy needs.
A source close to the Ethiopian government and those responsible for the massive Nile Renaissance Dam project has told that the government is expected to increase efforts to push forward on the construction of the large dam project that has left Egypt and Sudan frustrated.
“It is serious that the government here is looking to increase productivity on the dam project,” said the source, who has worked in the higher levels of the Ethiopian government over the past two decades. “It is a result of the public antagonism that has been leveled at Ethiopia over Nile water and what is believed to be the right of any nation to use its resources for the betterment of its own society.”
It is the latest in the ongoing battle for the world’s largest river’s water, with Egypt and Sudan continuing to remain obstinate in amending any of the colonial treaties that guarantee their countries with a lion’s share of water from the Nile.
Wikileaks released documents this month that revealed Egypt and Sudan had been planning to attack an Ethiopian dam project to “protect” their rights over Nile water based on colonial era treaties.
In documents revealed by Wikileaks, the Egyptian and Sudanese government appeared ready to develop a launching pad for an attack by Egypt against the dam.
Wikileaks has leaked files allegedly from the Texas-based global intelligence company, Stratfor, which quote an anonymous “high-level Egyptian source,” which reported that the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon said in 2010 that Egypt “would do anything to prevent the secession of South Sudan because of the political implications it will have for Egypt’s access to the Nile.”

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