PARLIAMENT - Rwandan Members of Parliament have threatened to move a motion that seeks to stop Egypt ascending to the chairmanship of the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-Com) unless the North African nation shows more commitment in ratify a new Nile water pact.
The new pact seeks to establish a permanent commission that would give equal powers to countries within Nile basin when it comes to using waters of Africa’s longest river.
The existing pact signed in 1929 favours only the upstream countries of Egypt and Sudan. Within this pact, the use of Nile waters was divided between Egypt and Sudan, allocating Egypt 48 billion cubic metres and Sudan 4 billion metres.
But this agreement has continued to anger downstream countries which have to seek authorization from the North African countries if a major project like construction of an electric dam is to be undertaken along the Nile.
Egypt which is expected to take over the chairmanship of this grouping has been dragging its feet on the adoption and ratification of the “Cooperative Framework Agreement” (CFA), a document that sets provisions for this new water pact.
According to the resolutions made by the lawmakers during a closed door meeting last week with the Minister of Minerals and Natural Resources Stanislas Kamanzi, members requested that strong measures be taken against Egypt if the country tries to frustrate the process of ratification of the pact.
The request comes after; Kamanzi expressed his worries that Egypt may use its upcoming chairmanship of the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-Com) to frustrate the process.
“Our position is that the Cooperative Framework ratification process is clear: The process should continue, and concluded as agreed upon,” part of the resolutions from the meeting said.
“We further recommend that if Egypt does not adhere to the Kinshasa minutes of the Nile-Com extraordinary meeting of May 22, 2009, the Chairmanship of Egypt to the Nile-Com be halted until this issue is resolved,” reads the document in part.
Lawmakers expressed support for the setting up of the Nile Basin Commission as soon as possible as agreed upon by the Nile Council of Ministers meeting in Kinshasa.
The Pact seeks to establish a permanent commission of the Nile Basin which would move from its current “initiative” level to a permanently globally recognized commission, Both Egypt and Sudan have been accused by members at different forums for delaying the ratification.
The upcoming Nile-Com meeting scheduled to take place in Alexandria, Egypt is expected to take over the chairmanship from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Nile basin consists of nine member states.