Tanzania 'reaffirmed' commitment to Nile deal

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Addis Ababa, 4 June 2014 (WIC) - An Ethiopian official said Monday that Tanzania had assured his country that it had not changed its position regarding the 2010 Comprehensive Framework Agreement signed by upstream Nile Basin countries, known as the Entebbe Agreement.

"The Ethiopian government contacted relevant authorities in Tanzania, which affirmed that statements made recently by the minister of foreign affairs do not reflect the official stand of the Tanzanian government," Fekahmed Negash, director of boundary and trans-boundary rivers at Ethiopia's Ministry of Water, Energy and Irrigation, told Anadolu Agency.

Last week, Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Kamillius Membe called for a review of the 2010 agreement in order to consider Egypt's water needs.
In 2010, upstream states Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania all signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement regulating Nile water use. Burundi signed on to the treaty in 2011.
The deal aims to replace a colonial-era treaty that gives Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.

Minister Membe said that Tanzania would call for a meeting of all Nile Basin states to review the 2010 agreement. The meeting, he said, would be attended by foreign ministers and ministers dealing with water issues.
"This is not official statement of the Government of Tanzania and we made sure that there is no change of position," Fekahmed said.
"The Tanzanian foreign minister is apparently not well informed of the agreement he spoke about. He called the Comprehensive Framework Agreement as a 'water sharing' one, which in fact it is not," Fekahmed said.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.

Ethiopia, for its part, says it has never recognized the treaty.
Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have been strained due to a multibillion hydroelectric dam now being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile's upper reaches.
Egypt is worried that a multibillion hydroelectric dam now being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile's will reduce its historical share of Nile water.

Citing its need for development, Ethiopia says it must build a series of dams to generate electricity, both for local consumption and export.
Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated. (worldbulletin)