Kenya urges Egypt to join Entebbe agreement

Kenyan Ambassador to Egypt David Arunga on Monday urged Egypt to accede to the Entebbe agreement, an accord struck between upstream Nile countries in May 2010 aimed at redistributing Nile flow.

Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya endorsed the agreement despite objections by Egypt and Sudan. Egyptian officials have said the accord is not binding.

Burundi joined the agreement at the beginning of March. The east African nation's endorsement brings the total signatories to six, which paves the way for Entebbe's implementation.

In statements to MENA, Arunga said his country will defend the interests of Egypt and its people until it becomes party to the agreement. Kenya does not intend to harm Egyptian interests or people for whom Nile water is of utmost importance, he added, stressing that Burundi's endorsement is not a dangerous development for the North African nation.

Arunga said the Entebbe agreement aims to establish projects that will benefit Nile Basin countries, but does not seek to redistribute water quotas.

Egypt enjoys the lion's share of Nile waters–51 billion square meters annually–based on a 1959 accord signed with Sudan, which recieves 18 billion square meters per year in the deal.

Egypt says both the 1959 agreement, as well as another accord signed in 1929 with British colonialists, stipulate that the approval of all Nile Basin states must be gained before the implementation of any water-utilization projects.

This unyielding stance has provoked criticism from basin states, which argue that the historic agreements are invalid because they were ratified under British colonialism.

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