Deal signed to end Nile dispute

_81846096_81845259KHARTOUM. — Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed an initial deal to end a long-running dispute over the sharing of water from the Nile River that goes through the three countries.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn signed the agreement in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

The three African leaders also welcomed the agreement in speeches in Khartoum’s Republican Palace yesterday.

A short film was also screened about the Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam that highlighted how it could benefit the region.

Egyptian authorities had previously voiced fears that the hydroelectric project would diminish Cairo’s share of water from the Nile. The river provides almost all of the desert nation’s water needs. Egypt is struggling with a water crisis as its population continues to grow. In the 1960s, the average water share per person was 2 800 cubic metres. Now, the figure has dropped to 600 cubic metres, much below the poverty line, which is 1 000 cubic metres per person.

Ethiopia hopes that the new dam will eventually alleviate some of its electricity shortages by providing 6 000 megawatts of power.

Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia began diverting the flow of the Nile for the construction of the dam last year. Senior authorities in Addis Ababa defended their decision by saying that the river will be slightly diverted but will then be able to follow its natural course.

Ethiopia’s lawmakers also ratified a controversial treaty to replace colonial-era accords that gave Egypt and Sudan the biggest share of the Nile water. — Press TV.