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Egypt offers support to Nile basin states

Thursday July 8 2010

By ARGAW ASHINE NATION Correspondent

ADDIS ABABA, Thursday

As part of its diplomatic and political effort to ease the ongoing tension over the Nile, Egypt has made offers of financial support to upstream countries.

According to Egyptian foreign ministry officials currently in Addis Ababa, the government has decided to support various development projects including training in upstream nations of the Nile.

The statement from the Egyptian government did not state the amount allocated but it would be part of Egyptian cooperation fund for Africa.

Egyptian officials are travelling to Nile basin countries to lobby for their proposal. After consultation with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa on Thursday, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ahmed Abul-Gheit said his country wants to resolve the current stalemate with a mutual understanding.

He said his country particularly wants to strengthen cooperation with Ethiopia, a contributor of 85 per cent of the Nile water.

“We will continue to work together on the diplomatic and political level to preserve our quota in the River Nile water,” said Hossam Zaki, official spokesman to the foreign minister.

After the signing of the Entebbe Nile pact in May this year, Egypt employed various techniques to abort the deal.

According to the Egyptian officials, their county prepared a new action plan to present for upstream Nile basin nations who signed a new pact and non-signatories.

Addis Ababa-based Western diplomats said the plan aims to conserve Egypt’s traditional share of the Nile water.

“Egypt is trapped in diplomatic dilemma and historically lost its age old dominancy in the Nile River” a European diplomats told the Nation.