The Nation (Nairobi)

17 May 2010

Africa: Egypt Out to Block New Nile Deal

Egypt has intensified various diplomatic efforts to delegitimise recent new Nile deal signed by four countries.

Yesterday, Egyptian officials on Nile affairs met in Cairo and expressed their anger over Ethiopia's new dam, inaugurated on Nile River last Friday.

"Tana Beles dam aims to provoke Egypt's anger and lead it to taking swift diplomatic behaviour which would turn global public opinion in favour of upstream Nile countries" a statement from the meeting said.

Egypt is preparing to respond to Ethiopia as well as to the signatories of new Nile deal. According to diplomats, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is set to travel to Italy, the main financier of hydro dams in Ethiopia.

Mr Mubarak is schedule to meet Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Mr Mubarak also ordered his team to organise a ministerial consultation meeting in Alexandria to reopen a new dialogue with Nile basin countries.

Ethiopia received a multi million loan from the European Investment bank and the Italy government to build at least five of ten hydro dams under construction.

Four hydro power dam construction projects were awarded to Italian firm Salini.

Egyptian diplomats are also rushing to lobby key players in the Eastern and northern Africa region.

Last Friday four Nile Basin countries-- Ethiopia Tanzania Uganda and Rwanda signed the new Nile agreement which proposed fair water utilisation on the River Nile.

Kenya, Democratic Republic Congo and Burundi may sign the agreement soon.

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