Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf will travel to Sudan Sunday with several ministers for his first trip abroad.
Sharaf will head a delegation that will include the foreign minister as well as the ministers of agriculture, electricity, irrigation and international cooperation. The ministers are scheduled to visit both northern and southern Sudan.
The delegation plans to discuss a number of topics, particularly Egypt and Sudan’s stance on the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement and its potential impact on their share of Nile waters. They will also discuss cooperation in agriculture and electricity.
Longstanding tension between Nile Basin states and Egypt and Sudan worsened in April after Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania signed the Entebbe framework agreement, seeking to override colonial agreements that grant Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of the Nile's flow.
Burundi joined the agreement at the beginning of March, bringing the total signatories to six, which paves the way for implementation of the agreement.
Egypt is currently allocated 51 billion cubic meters of water flow annually, based on a 1959 accord signed with Sudan, which receives 18 billion cubic meters per year in the deal.
Egypt says both the 1959 agreement, as well as another accord signed in 1929 with British colonialists, stipulate that the approval of all Nile Basin states must be gained before the implementation of any upstream water projects.
This unyielding stance has provoked criticism from other basin states, which argue that the historic agreements are invalid because they were ratified under British colonialism.
Translated from the Arabic Edition