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Sep 1, 2009

Conflict in Sharing the Water of the Nile River


"Egypt is the gift of the Nile" Herodotus.


During the past few years several meetings were held regarding water sharing between the Nile river basin countries.


The Nile river basin countries consists of: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Kenya and Burundi. The down river recipient countries are: Sudan, and Egypt.


The focus of discussion among the representatives of both groups was to revise a water sharing agreement that was signed by all under the British colonial authority in 1929.


According to the agreement, Egypt was to get 84 billion cubic meters per year from the Nile river. Furthermore,the agreement states that no water diversion project affecting Egypt's share should be constructed .


The last meeting of the countries involved was held in Alexandria, Egypt, in July 2009. No agreement was reached. However, the committee decided to meet again in six months after consulting the authorities in each government.


Meanwhile another meeting was taking place in Israel. It was reported that an American Jewish organization arranged for high government officials from Rwanda and Uganda to visit Israel to discuss economic co-operation in agricultural and water development projects along the Nile river.


Egyptian newspapers stated that Israel was behind the revision of the Nile water treaty.








It should be added that after the signature of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, prime minister Menahim Begin expressed interest in receiving water from the Nile. President Sadat of Egypt rejected such an idea








I would like to stress the fact that the livelihood of 80 million people in Egypt depends on the Nile river.
Hence, should the Nile river or other rivers, or other rivers for that matter, crossing international boundaries be regulated by international law?

3 comments:

  1. On the one hand many countries may be at the mercy of others for water supplies, so it makes sense that there is international regulation of water rights.

    However, in this case a powerful country like Israel may be able to manipulate the international community into forcing Egypt to share her precious water.

    So in my opinion regulating water rights international law may have a negative impact on most Middle Eastern nations since the U.S. and most of the west would side with Israel to force Egypt to share water.

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  2. Correctly framed International Laws that is fair to all and based on consistent ground rules and facts will prevail.

    I agree if International Laws are based only on whom currently has control and how much they are willing to give up and that if not sufficent to meet the needs of other countries, then that is not a fair International Law.

    If the controlling country has an over abundance supply of water and limits unfairly the water supply to other countries who previously had unlimited water supply then that obviously unfair.

    I believe the key is correctly framing and agreeing to fair International Law formulated by an International Body with a representative from each Middle East Country.

    I think each country in the Middle East must consider other countries and would they be happy with the water agreement if they were in their position?

    The key to the future is an International Body and International Law that is fair to all.

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