Uganda rebuffed Egyptian delegation | Update on Ethiopia’s Grand Millennium dam

The 40 man strong delegation that Egypt sent to Uganda failed to convince Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The delegation consisted, as reported by the English weekly Ethiopian reporter.:

The mission …. includes al-Sayyed al-Badawi, President of the Wafd Party, and other individuals that are hopefuls for the next Egyptian presidency, such as Hamdeen Sabbahi, Ayman Nour and Hesham el-Bastawisi.

Former Minister of Irrigation Mahmoud Abu Zeid, Ahmed al-Leithi, former minister of agriculture; Osama al-Ghazali Harb, president of the Democratic Front Party; and several youth from the 25 January revolution also traveled for the talks.

However, in the meeting with delegates Museveni reasserted Uganda’s natural right on the Nile river , according to the Ugandan media Daily Monitor. The website quoted Museveni sayng:

“Our ratification [of the new Nile Basin Treaty]would wait for the placement of a new administration in Cairo, including the conclusion of presidential and parliamentary elections.
“We have to be accommodating of Egypt’s interests. We will not ratify in a hurry. We want Egypt on board,”

“The issue should not be the building of dams. Uganda will go ahead and construct dams for electricity generation at Bujagali and Karuma and elsewhere. The real threat is underdevelopment, deforestation for firewood and farming.”

No bilateral dealing: It is to be recalled that Egypt demanded Ethiopia for technical and environmental studies, according to the Egyptian news outlet Almasry Alyoum on March 31, two days before Ethiopia launched the new dam, named ‘the Grand Millenium Dam’. Almasry Alyoum on March 31 reported:

Irrigation Minister Hussein al-Atfy on Thursday said Egypt is awaiting the Ethiopian government’s reply to its request for technical and environmental studies of the Great Millennium Dam. Ethiopia is building the dam on its borders with Sudan.

“We shall examine the studies to determine the adverse repercussions on Egypt’s Nile water quota,” he said, adding that Egypt would resort to the international community if Ethiopia failed to reply.

However, Ethiopia rejected Egypt’s request as it is outside the Nile Basin Cooperation Framework. Dina Mufti, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said to the English weekly Addis Fortune : “Any questions they have about the development of water have to come through the CFA[Cooperative Framework Agreement],”. “This is the spirit and purpose of the CFA. We will not deal with them unless it is through the CFA.”

Military threat? In a related development, the Washington based online news outlet, World News Daily, reported yesterday that the Egyptian army received an instruction ‘to prepare for any eventuality regarding a crucial water dispute’ with Ethiopia. The news was by Aron Klien who cited an unnamed ‘Egyptian security sources’.

The report indicates Egypt is pleading U.S. and European Union to oppose the Grand Millennium dam, which Ethiopia launched on Saturday.(About the dam)

World News Daily claimed, citing its sources, that ‘the Egyptian military believes Israel is encouraging Ethiopia to build the dam as a way to weaken’ the new Egyptian government – that is the Military junta that assumed power last February.

It appears the news is a product of Egypt’s ploy to alarm Ethiopia and concerned countries and a right wing US media keen to exaggerate threats. The reporter, World News Daily’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Aaron Klein, failed even to conduct basic checks on the relevant facts. He referred to Ethiopia’s new dam as a ‘proposal’ and the Nile Basin Framework agreement that is signed by six countries as a ‘petition’. It appears he was parroting whatever his Egyptian sources told him.

Daniel Berhane

more recommended stories