Egypt has attended a meeting of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), ending a five-year boycott due to a protracted dispute over a controversial agreement about sharing the waters of the river.Sudan’s minister for Irrigation and Electricity, Moatez Moussa, announced during a meeting of NBI countries in Khartoum on Saturday that for the first time it was being attended by officials from Cairo after years of absence.
Egypt has been boycotting NBI meetings since 2010 after five of its members, namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, signed the Entebbe Agreement seeking to re-allocate the Nile water shares contrary to a colonial-era agreements on the issue.
The agreement with Britain gave Egypt the lion’s share of the Nile water.
In a statement Moussa said that the NBI members have agreed to prioritize the interests of their peoples and promote cooperation for the management and development of water resources for the benefit of citizens of Nile Basin countries.
Moussa stressed that only three articles were left to conclude the NBI legal framework that is currently considered by member states.
Egypt’s Water and Irrigation minister Hussam Maghazi was quoted earlier this week as saying that his country will push for new dispute resolution mechanisms.
â€œEgypt will put forth a new vision for the situation with the aim of reaching a win-win solution,â€� Maghazi said on Thursday, pointing out that Cairo will not sign the Entebbe Agreement in its current form.
The initiative was formally launched on 22 February 1999 by the water ministers of nine countries sharing the River Nile including Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as Eritrea as an observer.
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