Egypt: Nile dispute ‘technical’ not ‘political’

Disputes among Egypt and Nile basin countries are “technical” as opposed to “political,” and there is sufficient Nile water for all Nile basin countries, according to Mohamed Nasr Eddin Allam, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources.

Allam, speaking at a conference yesterday with Galal Saeed, governor of Fayoum, highlighted two modes of negotiations, one “technical” and handled by the Irrigation Ministry, the other “political” and handled by presidential authorities.

President Hosni Mubarak has called for constructive and calm dialogue during negotiations with Nile basin countries, said Allam, referring to upcoming negotiations to be held in Nairobi.

The minister described relationships with Nile basin countries as “good and eternal, beginning thousands of years ago.” He said Egypt is taking measures to increase investment in Nile basin countries, especially in Ethiopia, where Egyptian investments have surpassed LE1 million.

Allam added that Egypt has strong bilateral relationships with Nile basin countries, boosting joint cooperation projects in the fields of agriculture, fish farming, and the generation of electricity.

Regarding water shortages in some areas of Egypt, Allam said the problem is the result of the poor conditions of canals, water supply constructions, and inefficient pumping stations. He promised that the government willl work on these issues in the upcoming years, citing ministerial approval for an additional LE800 million to be used toward improving irrigation and drainage networks.

Allam also referred to an agreement with the Agriculture Ministry on determining a joint strategy for the irrigation development of land in the Delta and Nile valley, and said ten pumping stations have been established in different governorates to overcome water problems. 

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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