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Nile Agreement 2015

Bonn, March 25, 2015. The Declaration of Principles on the Great Renaissance Dam (GERD) signed by the three East Nile countries (Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan) on 23 March 2015 in Khartoum has caused much controversy among Egyptian experts and commentators. Some believe that after four years of tensions, this is a breakthrough between Egypt and Ethiopia. Others say that Egypt will inevitably lose because of this declaration because it does not contain a clear reference to Egypt`s historical rights in the waters of the Nile and does not guarantee a reduction in GERD`s enormous storage capacity. This declaration is a positive step towards a compromise on the largest dam project in an upstream Nile country. But only the translation of this declaration into balanced technical agreements can reinforce the lack of trust between Egypt and Ethiopia and pave the way for the joint use of the benefits of the dam and reduce its potential negative effects on downstream countries. [2] The countries bordering the Nile are Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan (Republic), Tanzania and Uganda. Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan are downstream border countries. However, South Sudan has stated that it does not recognize the 1959 bilateral agreement between Egypt and Sudan. In this context, the declaration is a realistic compromise on a complex historical dilemma and a true reflection of the current balance of power.

It is positive that the three countries are cooperating in the implementation of the recommendations of the International Group of Experts and will reach agreement on the guidelines for filling and operating the dam. It sets a deadline of fifteen months from the start of preparation of the necessary investigations into the dam for the conclusion of this agreement. According to the statement, Ethiopia is obliged to take the necessary measures not to cause significant damage to Egypt and Sudan, to mitigate this harm in the event of a case and to discuss compensation “whenever appropriate.” However, the declaration makes no reference to historical agreements or Egypt`s acquired share in the waters of the Nile. Moreover, it did not force Ethiopia to reconsider the size of the dam and the 74 billion cubic metres of storage capacity of the reservoir, a size that many experts considered unnecessary and economically irrational. Among the principles of the March agreement were the priority given to downstream countries for electricity generated by electricity generated by the dam, a dispute resolution mechanism and compensation for damages. These differences on the use of the Nile are not new and indeed have a long history, as these countries are heavily dependent on the waters of the Nile. In 1929, an agreement was reached between Egypt and Great Britain on the use of Nile waters – Britain represented its colonies in the Nile basin. [1] The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty dealt with many issues concerning the Nile and its tributaries. The fact that it has granted Egypt an annual allocation of 48 billion cubic metres of water and Sudan 4 billion cubic metres, on an estimated average annual yield of 84 billion cubic metres, is particularly important for the current debate.

In addition, the 1929 agreement granted Egypt a veto over construction projects on the Nile or one of its tributaries in order to minimize interference in the flow of water into the Nile. In 1999, the Nile rim states, with the exception of Eritrea, signed the Nile Basin Initiative (NIL) to improve cooperation in the development of “common water resources in the Nile Basin.” Under the aegis of the NBI, the neighbouring countries have begun to develop what they see as a permanent legal and institutional framework for the management of the Nile basin. The Framework Cooperation Agreement (CFA), as the agreement is known, officially introduced the concept of equitable water allocation into discussions on Nile governance, as well as a complex concept called “water security.” However, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday: “This is a framework agreement that will be concluded.

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