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Egypt slams ‘non-inclusive’ EU Nile Basin project

Egypt’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that the country objects to the recent 10 million euro-project by the European Union with some Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) countries because it would be backing a non-inclusive framework, state news agency MENA reported.

Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Egypt is not against construction projects in the Nile Basin as long as they adhere to international law.

In June, the EU said it agreed to finance the second phase of the Wadi El-Koua Basin Project in the North Darfur State at a sum of 10 million euros, and that the implementation would start in October this year and last for five years.

In 2010, Egypt froze its membership in the NBI after some upstream countries signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which reallocated Nile water quotas without Egypt’s approval. Egypt has said the move violates the principles of the NBI.

The CFA, also known as the Entebbe Agreement, was signed by six out of 10 NBI members, and outlines principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin’s water resources through a permanent institutional mechanism, according to the initiative’s website.

The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said that since its signing, the NBI has been considered internationally as a “flawed, non-inclusive Nile Basin framework.”

Abu Zeid said that as per NBI rules, all 10 countries bound to the agreement must inform other member states before starting projects on the Nile Basin, but that this is no longer adhered to.

Abu Zeid said Egypt expressed this sentiment in a recent meeting with representatives of the EU.

The spokesman described the EU’s move as contradictory to its policies in other regions of “respecting international law, bolstering harmony [between countries] and supporting stability.”

Abu Zeid also said that the EU is currently revising the agreement to address Egypt’s concerns.

Source: Ahram Online

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