Ethiopian Calls for Immediate Measures for Reallocation of Nile
Addis Ababa, June 28 (WIC) - -- The challenges for cooperation among the Nile Riparian States came to the fore when an Ethiopian diplomat called today for immediate measures for appropriate allocation of the waters of the River among the
countries sharing it.
Ato Girma Amare, a department director at the Ministry of Foreign Affair, pointed out that the major impediment to cooperation has been the adamant position of "some lower riparian states of the river"
By "some lower riparian states", Girma is referring to Egypt and Sudan. Both countries have a 1959 agreement where by they claim the whole of the Nile water.
"Sooner than later this issue has to be addressed if there is going to be lasting and durable cooperation on the Nile", he underscored.
The suggestion was met with a strong argument from the Egyptian delegation, which said that the suggestion adversely affected the spirit of cooperation that has been taking root over the recent years.
The Egyptians, said Ato Girma, are confrontational and out of tune with the existing thinking.
Experts, however, said that the Egyptians were employing a usual tactic aimed at preventing real discussion on issues of equity in the utilization of the Nile.
In spite of the tense atmosphere that characterized today's deliberations, some participants said issue of cooperation, especially between Ethiopia and Egypt has come a long way.
"For me who had witnessed that difficult period of confrontation, the important thing about the Nile conference is not what it will achieve in the year 2002, but the opportunity it has created for the delegates of all Riparian States to air their views.",
said Dejazmatch Zewdie G/Selassie, an Ethiopian career diplomat and one of the participants.