In order to give Egypt time to elect a new parliament following the revolution that toppled President Mubarak, Ethiopian Prime Minister Melis Zenawi has agreed to postpone the Nile Basin Agreement. The agreement will dramatically change Egypt’s Nile river water rights, divesting the country of its longstanding monopoly.
The two countries have been locked in a struggle after Ethiopia began construction on the massive Millennium Dam Project earlier this year. An expensive endeavor that one of the world’s poorest nations can scarcely afford, if completed the new Nile dam could provide Ethiopians with 5,250MW of energy.
Egypt send a 47 member delegation to Ethiopia to smooth out the Nile River conflict. Included in that throng were three presidential hopefuls, students who helped to topple former President Hosni Mubarak, as well as several prominent Egyptian opposition leaders.
Hamdian Sabhy, Hisham Basetawsi, and Bosayna Kamel are among the presidential hopefuls that attempted to sway Ethiopia’s stance on the Nile waters. Despite rejecting pleas to provide studies depicting how the new dam will impact downstream countries, Ethiopia has lightened its former grip and will delay signing the Nile Basin agreement.
According to Ethiopia forums, Zenawi also agreed to forming a committee of Ethiopian, Egyptian, and Sudanese experts to look into the Millennium Dam project.
Zenawi’s new position comes in deference to the historic revolution that is expected to usher in a new generation of Egyptian leadership.
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