Nile Water Agreement

It should be recalled that on 28 February 1922, Great Britain recognized Egypt as an independent sovereign state, with the caveat that certain matters “should remain at the discretion of Her Majesty`s Government until it may be possible, through free discussion and friendly agreements between both parties, to conclude agreements on this subject between Her Majesty`s Government and the Egyptian Government.” Sudan — the “black country,” a vast region in southern Egypt, between the 22nd and fifth parallels — was the subject of the fourth of these reservations. This area had been recaptured jointly by Great Britain and Egypt in the campaigns of 1896-8. It is governed by a condominium. The flags of England and Egypt fly side by side. The Egyptians claim that Sudan belongs to them and that it should be admitted to their kingdom. The English deny it. Since the war, Downing Street has fluctuated somewhat in relation to its Egyptian policy. But she remained stubborn and consistent on one point: England will not abandon Sudan. That has not changed.

Britain`s willingness to adapt the Nile water issue before Sudan`s fate is resolved, if at all, underlines this. Sudan and Egypt also signed an agreement in 1959 that divides the waters of the Nile between them. To this day, Egypt argues that the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1929 and its amended version, the 1959 agreement, are still valid. The 1959 agreement signed by Egypt and an independent Sudan brought Egypt`s share to 55.5 billion cubic meters and Sudan`s share to 18.5 billion cubic meters. On 2 April 2011, Meles Zenawi, then Prime Minister of Ethiopia, laid the foundations for the construction of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam. The dam is located on the Blue Nile, in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of the country. Shortly after the announcement, the Cairo authorities immediately launched a campaign of words against Addis Ababa`s alleged attempt to intervene in Egypt`s water needs. Then, The furious Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said that if he did not call for “war” with Ethiopia, “Egypt`s water security cannot be violated at all,” that “all options are open” and that Egyptians would not accept projects on the Nile that threaten their existence. “To the Italian government: the fact that you have agreed and the fact that you felt it necessary to send us a joint communication on this agreement clearly shows that you intend to exert pressure, which we believe immediately raises an earlier question. This issue, which requires preliminary consideration, must therefore be referred to the League of Nations. Indeed, this agreement gave Egypt full control of the Nile during the dry season when water is most needed for agricultural irrigation.

It also severely limits the amount of water allocated to Sudan and does not supply water to any of the other riparian countries. He believed that after the signing of the Camp David peace accords with Israel in 1979, no other problem could bring Egypt back to war, except water. The Egyptian Prime Minister`s letter sets out how much water Sudan can withdraw.