Nile River basin talks to be held in Kinshasa

KINSHASA - Ministers responsible for water in the riparian states of the Nile Basin are scheduled to meet in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo this week to conclude negotiations on the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA).

KINSHASA - Ministers responsible for water in the riparian states of the Nile Basin are scheduled to meet in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo this week to conclude negotiations on the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA).

The CFA seeks an establishment of a permanent Nile River Basin Commission through which member countries will manage and develop resources of the world’s longest river.

The negotiations which have been going on since 1997 have not been concluded as Egypt and Sudan are said to be reluctant to sign the agreement that calls for equal sharing of the Nile water resources.

Speaking ahead of setting off for the Kinshasa meeting, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi said: “Rwanda’s position on the CFA is very clear we want equal sharing of benefits from the river.”

He added: “during the Kinshasa meeting, we, Ministers charged with water will forge a way forward in finalizing the outstanding issue (Article 14 b) of the draft agreement.”

The contentious article on water security in the draft states in part that: “…not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.”

Egypt and Sudan have for long been arguing that the article be changed to: “…not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin State.”

“We definitely have to come up with an agreement during the meeting; there are likely to be hard talks but the bottom line will be coming up with a consensus.

“If an agreement is not reached then we will have to take more time for dialogue until all member states of the Nile basin come up with one stand where every country will be contented,” said Kamanzi.

The Kinshasa meeting follows a string of consultative meetings recently undertaken by the DRC Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism José Endundo Bononge who is also the Chairperson of the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM).

In a related development, a statement released by the Nile Basin Initiative indicates that the meeting will pave way for the establishment of a permanent River Nile Basin Organization.

The 39-article CFA was supposed to be adopted by all basin states before June 2007 and then ratified before coming into force.

Prior to this meeting focused on the CFA, the Ministers will also meet under the Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers (NELCOM) also to be held in Kinshasa. 

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