Tuesday, 29 March 2011

South Sudan and Egypt in Nile talks

Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf met with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Monday 28th March, while on a two day visit to Juba. The talks between the two officials revolved around plans to increase water resources from the Nile Basin.

Sharaf was accompanied by a delegation of government representatives, including Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hussein El-Atfi. The two sides agreed to revive plans to construct the Jonglei Canal in South Sudan, which would channel swamp-water back into the Nile increasing availability by almost 4 billion cubic metres per year.

Speaking about the deal, El-Atfi said Egypt had already contributed $800,000 to the renovation of three water level measurement stations in South Sudan, and promised to contribute a further $1.1 million to restore three more stations by the end of this year.

Both side agreed that water saved by the canal would be divided equally, and signed an MoU to that effect.

On his part, Kirr commended the Egyptian delegation for its willingness to co-operated with one of Africa's newest countries, and expressed hope to improve bilateral business in oil, gas, transport and agriculture.

Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Nabil Al-Arabi said Egypt will recognise the newly-formed state of South Sudan, adding: "Sudan intends to be the first to recognize Juba and Egypt intends to be the second.”

Sources: Bikyamasar, Sudan Vision, AllAfrica

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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