Ethiopia begins process to ratify framework agreement on Nile
Addis Ababa, March 6 (WIC) – Ethiopia begins a process to ratify the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) which will be submitted to the House of Peoples Representatives.
The CFA, which is signed in May 2011 by six of the Nile Basin counties including Ethiopia, seeks to establish a permanent River Nile Basin Commission through which member countries of the basin will jointly manage and develop resources of the Nile, the longest river in the world.
“We have now started a process to have the CFA ratified,” Reta Alemu, Director of International Legal Affairs Directorate General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said Tuesday speaking at a consultative meeting organized by the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoFA) and the Ethiopian Nile Discourse Forum (EthNDF).”
Ethiopia put a hold on the ratification process to allow Egypt, which is yet to sign the CFA, regain political stability following months of unrests that led to the formation of an elected government.
“The six countries that signed the CFA have agreed to proceed with a process to ratify the treaty” Reta said. The upstream countries that have so far signed include Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. All six parliaments are expected to ratify the CFA.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has not signed yet while the world’s newest country, South Sudan, could accede to the treaty.
Even though, the basin countries expect Egypt and Sudan to come on board, the two countries have persistently declined to sign the agreement.
Egypt and Sudan remain adamant on the ‘historic rights’ that emanated from a 1929 colonial-era treaty signed with Britain. The treaty gave Egypt veto rights over all upstream projects. A subsequent 1959 treaty between Egypt and Sudan also gave the two downstream countries over ninety percent control of Nile waters.
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