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East African states negotiate with Sudan, Egypt on River Nile

4/9/2005 5:58pm

KAMPALA, Apr 9, 2005 (Xinhua) -- The governments of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have started fresh negotiations with Sudan and Egypt on the optimal use of the River Nile, a senior Ugandan official has said.

Permanent Secretary in Uganda's water ministry Bezalel Kabanda was quoted by Saturday's New Vision newspaper as saying that the negotiations were aimed at reviewing the colonial agreements that gave the two Arab countries a say in any developments related to the Nile.

Kabanda said particular concern was over the 1929 agreement that gave Egypt a greater say in determining any developments related to the Nile.

He said the agreements provided that any developments in the countries related to the Nile had to be carried out with the consent of Egypt.

However, Kabanda said the fresh negotiations aimed at putting aside some of the old agreements and for new ones to be put in place to benefit all the countries in the Nile Basin.

He said the east African states wanted the old treaties disbanded and fresh ones re-entered to provide for bulk water transfers for production.

"The re-negotiation is aimed at a win-win situation and how we can get maximum equitable use of the waters," he said, adding that "we also want to identify some of the crops that can be grown in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania for sale in Egypt and Sudan."

Kabanda, however, said the negotiations were still being held at a technical level, adding that "we are carrying out the technical discussions before presenting our findings to legislators."

The Nile riparian countries are Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda

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