(Dec. 26, 2011) – Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr is scheduled to begin a tour of six Nile Basin countries from 7 to 13 January. The tour is expected to include Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
In a statement Magdy Amer, the general coordinator for Nile Basin affairs, said that meetings between Amer and officials in the six states were being planned.
Amer said the Nile Basin issue is among Egypt’s top foreign-policy priorities, pointing to former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s visit to Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Amer said Egypt has not changed its stance regarding the planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and that its policy is focused on ensuring Ethiopia benefits without harming the interests of Egypt and Sudan, the two downstream states. When completed, the project will be the continent’s largest hydroelectric dam.
According to Amer, Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa have agreed to form a tripartite international committee to study the likely impact of the dam. It will include two experts each from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and an additional four international experts to be selected by these six. The committee, which will begin its work next month, will spend most of the year preparing a technical report that will be presented to the governments of all three countries.
Amer said that Egypt will not accept any legal framework that could harm its interests. “We are not disregarding the Entebbe agreement,” he said, “but Egypt needs these countries to amend their positions, as they need Egypt’s agreement since the donor countries and organizations do not grant funding to projects which are disputed or suffering division."
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm