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All Nile basin countries mark Nile Day for first time in 5 years

23 February 2015, 08:11

Khartoum - All members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) gathered on Sunday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to celebrate the Regional Nile Day for the first time in five years.

The celebration was held this year under the theme "Water and Improved Livelihoods - Opportunities in Nile Cooperation."

It is the first time for all members to participate since 2010 when Entebbe Agreement was signed, which called for redistribution of their quotas of Nile water.

Cairo rejected the agreement, and boycotted the initiative as the North African country believed the agreement could undermine its share in Nile River water.

Analysts say Egypt's participation this time shed light on the consensus role being played by Sudan.

"Celebrating the Nile Day is an indicator for the growing role which Sudan is playing to reunite the Nile basin countries, to reactivate the Egyptian participation and overcome the divisions among the members," said Prof. Saif-Eddin Hamad, head of the technical consultative committee in the NBI.

Also read: Egypt warns Ethiopia about Nile dam

Hossam Moghazy, Egypt's minister for water resources and irrigation, said his country has not cut itself off from the NBI, and is back with an "open mind" to any initiative from any country to review the Entebb agreement "in order to overcome obstacles," according to Egypt's state-owned MENA news agency.

The Nile Day celebration is NBI's biggest public event held annually on 22nd February when NBI was established in 1999, on purpose to enhance cooperation between the Nile basin countries.

The NBI members include Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Eritrea.

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- Xinhua


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