• 13:43
  • Thursday ,25 November 2010

Egypt to Ethiopia: No water war


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Thursday ,25 November 2010

Egypt to Ethiopia: No water war

CAIRO--Egypt Tuesday expressed astonishment at a warning made by Ethiopia's Prime Minister against an Egyptian war over Nile water. "Egypt does not consider  war its option for water," said Hpssam Zaki, the spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. "All options on which bases its stand are grounded on dialogue and negotiations," he added.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in an interview that Egypt could not win a war with Ethiopia over the River Nile and was also supporting rebel groups in an attempt to destabilise the Horn of Africa nation.
Egypt, Ethiopia and seven other countries through which the river passes have been locked in more than a decade of contentious talks driven by anger over the perceived injustice of a previous Nile water treaty signed in 1929.
    Under the original pact Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic metres a year, the lion's share of the Nile's total flow of around 84 billion cubic metres, despite the fact some 85 percent of the water originates in Ethiopia.
    Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya signed a new deal to share the waters in May, provoking Egypt to call it a "national security" issue.
Meles said he was not happy with the rhetoric coming from the Egyptians but dismissed the claims of some analysts that war could eventually erupt.
    "I am not worried that the Egyptians will suddenly invade Ethiopia," Meles told Reuters in an interview.
     "Nobody who has tried that has lived to tell the story. I don't think the Egyptians will be any different and I think they know that."
    The five signatories of the new deal have given the other Nile Basin countries one year to join the pact before putting it into action. Sudan has backed Egypt while Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi have so far refused to sign.
     "The Egyptians have yet to make up their minds as to whether they want to live in the 21st or the 19th century," Meles told Reuters in an interview, referring to the fact the original treaty was negotiated by colonial administrators.