Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Mutaz Musa stressed Sunday that Sudan will continue managing its water file with Egypt under a high level of “transparency, honesty and clarity”.
According to state-run MENA, Musa said Egypt’s frozen membership of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) “will not solve the [Nile] basin’s problems and will not achieve the interests of Sudan and Egypt, neither on the short nor on the long term”.
Musa added that it may further complicate the problem and drive other Nile Basin countries to find paths that do not involve Egypt or Sudan.
The minister made the statements during the third annual meeting of the joint Egyptian Sudanese technical committee on Nile Water, in the committee’s headquarters in Khartoum.
Musa is the current NBI chairman and has previously called on Egypt to unfreeze its activities in the initiative.
Egypt and Sudan had frozen their NBI activities in 2010 in protest of the signing of the Cooperative Framework Agreement by five Nile Basin countries. The agreement, which is also known as the Entebbe Agreement, has had Nile Basin countries split as it aims to re-divide water shares of the Nile.
Egypt has refused to sign the agreement and said it was “against the interests of Egypt and Sudan”.
Sudan however resumed its activities and returned to the initiative last year.
Downstream countries Egypt and Sudan together receive the majority of Nile Water, receiving roughly a combined percentage of 88%. As per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, Egypt annually receives 55.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year, and Sudan receives 18.5bn cubic metres.
Founded in 1999, the NBI brings Nile Basin countries together in an effort to develop the river in a cooperative manner.
Musa believes that Egypt’s and Sudan’s interests are connected to their presence within the comprehensive cooperation system of the Nile Basin countries and not just through bi-lateral ties. He added that current challenges on the regional and international levels require more effort to come up with a joint vision that achieves the general benefit of the Nile Basin countries.
In October, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir held bi-lateral talks in which they addressed the Nile River’s importance in developing the Nile basin countries.
The presidents also talked about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is currently constructing along the Nile. The dam has been a point of contention between Egypt and Ethiopia, since Egypt fears that it will affect its share of Nile water.