23 February 2018

Egypt: Countries Vow to Wisely Use Nile River - Ethiopia Calls On Egypt to Resume CFA Engagement

The Nile riparian countries pledged to strengthen management and equitable utilization of the River Nile to tackle the impacts of climatic variability and step-up mutual cooperation.

The Nile day was celebrated yesterday here at Economic Commission for Africa under the theme: 'Shared river: Collective action'.

Ethiopia also urged Egypt to resume engagements to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA) and establish the multilateral institution--Nile River Basin Commission.

Eng. Seleshi Bekele Chairperson of the Nile Council of Ministers who is also Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity stressed that the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999 marked special progress in the history of Nile Cooperation.

Climate change, growing population and others are ravaging the economies of the riparian countries; hence, safeguarding the resource and promoting equitable utilization of the river is a must do task to respond to the growing basic needs as well, added Minister Eng. Seleshi.

However, Eng. Seleshi said despite the challenges, there remain huge opportunities for cooperation and mutual development indicating that Ethiopia has been and will remain playing central role in multilateral efforts. The initiative has been technical in supporting collective and shared visions to which member countries should support to.

The minister also urged Egypt to resume engagement towards Comprehensive Framework Agreement which six countries signed, and three of them ratified. He said it has been years since Egypt froze participation and engagement on matters pertaining to the CFA and the country should consider and restart participation.

Egypt Ambassador to Ethiopia and member of Nile Council of Minister Abou Bakr Hefny Mahmoud for his part said Egypt is open for mutual cooperation and discussion. It commits itself towards promoting win-win approach.

Shared goals are the way out to address each others' concerns, he said, adding significant percent of the river is unused and shared vision and management is worthwhile. "|In this regard Egypt is keen to continue cooperation in bilateral lever," he added.

Ambassador also expressed Egypt's determination to remain open to the Kigali dialogue.

Cooperation on Nile is growing from time to time ushering in the signing of the CFA by the majority of the Nile riparian countries. Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda ratified the CFA while countries like Kenya, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda, that signed the document, are expected to ratify it.

Once six countries ratify the document and deposit the ratifying document with the African Union, the NRBC would be established to foster further cooperation.

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