Search

 

Cablegate: Egypt Unsuccessful in Swaying Upstream Nile Basin Countries

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #2355/01 3571040
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231040Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4534
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0362
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0009
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 0095
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0001
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1392
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 0053
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0085
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0001

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002355

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, AF/SPG, AF/E, OES FOR SALZBERG,
ADDIS ABABA FOR BAUMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2019
TAGS: PREL EAID TZ KE ET SU EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT UNSUCCESSFUL IN SWAYING UPSTREAM NILE BASIN COUNTRIES REF: A. CAIRO 1897 B. CAIRO 1506 C. CAIRO 1615 Classified By: Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Stephen P. O'Dowd for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- During two separate meetings, Egyptian officials at the MFA and Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation told us that Egyptian attempts to use development and investment incentives have failed to sway the opinions of the seven upstream Nile countries on the proposed Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA). -- According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the seven upstream Nile countries in early December rejected a new Egyptian proposal to resolve the impasse over the CFA. The proposal eliminated the need to obtain the approval of downstream countries before initiating projects on the Nile. -- Egyptian officials held out little hope of resolving the impasse prior to the next Nile Council of Ministers (NileCOM) meeting in late February in Sharm El Sheikh. The XXXXXXXXXXXX expressed concern that the current situation may force the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) countries to go their separate ways.

2.(C) Comment: The Government of Egypt (GoE) has preferred that the CFA be resolved on favorable terms by the riparian countries. The Egyptians believe they have shown flexibility and negotiated in good faith, only to be rebuffed by the upstream countries. The GoE is willing to consider alternative diplomatic vehicles to continue dialogue and Egyptian advisors are soliciting opinions and ideas from NBI donor countries on how to best proceed. ------------------------------- Egyptian Diplomacy Unsuccessful -------------------------------

3.(C) Mohamed El Mullah, Egyptian MFA cabinet advisor on African Affairs, told us on December 17 that Egypt's efforts to use development and investment incentives to gain the cooperation of the upstream countries on the CFA was unsuccessful. He stated the upstream countries are willing to take Egyptian development assistance, but are not willing to reconsider the CFA, or their plans to use Nile waters. El Mullah said recent NBI meetings in Kampala in late September and Dar Es Salaam in early December had "not been helpful" and "exacerbated the situation." He concluded that NBI countries are heading toward a "7/2 split" wherein the seven upstream countries will sign the CFA at the expense of Egypt and Sudan. He expressed frustration that the "upstream countries do not need the water they want to take from us." El Mullah told us that Egypt may be willing to establish an inter-governmental commission of Nile Basin countries as a vehicle for continued dialogue. --------------------------------------------- --- Upstream Countries Reject Egypt's "New Proposal" --------------------------------------------- ---

4.(C) Dr. Abdel Fattah Metawie, Chairman of the Nile Water Sector at the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, told us on December 20 that a combined MFA/Water Ministry/Egyptian Intelligence delegation had visited five of the seven upstream NBI countries over the past three months to offer development assistance on water projects and deliver a "new proposal" to bridge the divide on the CFA. According to Metawie, Egypt conceded that upstream countries no longer needed its permission to carry out projects on the Nile as long as they "don't cause harm." However, he said the upstream countries, led by Kenya and Tanzania, rejected the proposal during the 10th anniversary meetings in Dar Es Salaam in early December. Metawie believes that the upstream countries did not seriously consider the proposal, but instead came with "political instructions" to reject the proposal and not negotiate with the Egyptian delegation. He said the politicians in upstream countries are using the Nile Water issue for political gain and have told their people that Egypt is taking their water and preventing their development. Metawie said this attitude is preventing any resolution. ----------------------- Egypt Could Abandon NBI -----------------------

5.(C) Ambassador Rafik Khalil, the MFA's advisor to the Minister of Water Resources, lamented on December 20 that Egypt had "done everything it could" to resolve the CFA issue as it promised at the NileCOM meeting in Alexandria in August (reftels A-C). He said the GoE had "exhausted its ideas" on how to continue the dialogue. Both Khalil and Metawie expressed little hope that a solution could be found before the Nile COM meeting in late February in Sharm El Sheikh, where they expect the seven upstream countries to sign the CFA. Metawie believes that the Nile Basin countries may need to go their separate ways, although he and Khalil expressed angst over the "waste of time and money" that donors and members had invested in the NBI. Metawie, Khalil and El Mullah asked what the USG thought about the current impasse and if the NBI donor countries have a plan to address the split in Sharm El Sheikh. --------------------------------------------- ---- Prime Minister Will Not Discuss Water in Ethiopia --------------------------------------------- ----

6.(C) Metawie said PM Nazif will undertake his much anticipated visit to Ethiopia in late December (reftel C). However he said the PM will not discuss Nile waters, but will instead focus on increasing opportunities for investment and trade to create positive momentum in the bilateral relationship. Metawie said Egyptian-Ethiopian ties are "good and long" dating back to shared Muslim and Christian religious philosophies. Scobey

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Afghanistan: Record Number Of Women And Children Killed Or Wounded

More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009, a United Nations report revealed on Monday... More>>

Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>


UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs



Food Systems: More Than 100 Countries Discuss Visions For Futures To Accelerate Global Action Ahead Of September Summit

More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030... More>>


Food Systems: Italian & Rwandan Leaders Join Urgent Call To Transform World’s Food Systems As Pre-Summit Begins

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame stress need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches ahead of the Summit in New York in September... More>>


UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>