Museveni calls for equitable use of River Nile
Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has said all the countries that share the Nile, the world’s longest river should use her waters for the benefit of all, not at the detriment of others.
Museveni was on Friday speaking at State House Entebbe while meeting a delegation from the Federal Republic of Ethiopia led by President Sahle–Work Zewde.
In a joint statement issued by State House Entebbe after a one day visit, Museveni said that he recognized the strategic importance of River Nile for all the Riparian Countries and the livelihood of their peoples and the need to solve any issues among the countries within the framework of African solutions to African Problems.
“President Museveni emphasized the need to urgently convene a Summit of the Nile Basin Commission so that the Heads of State have a frank discussion on the issues of the Nile,” the statement said.
Museveni’s meeting with Zewde comes at a time when talks between Ethiopia and Egypt over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, facilitated by the United States of America have all but failed to bear any fruits. Ethiopia insists on building the dam that if completed will supply 5,000 megawatts of electricity and will be Africa’s biggest hydropower plant.
Egypt insists that if Ethiopia goes ahead with this project, it will significantly reduce the amount of water that reaches them. The country almost entirely depends on the River Nile for all its water needs. If Ethiopia goes ahead with the construction, Egypt says it’s willing to resort to a military solution to stop it.
On the Nile Basin, Zewde welcomed Uganda’s ratification of the Cooperative Framework Agreement which she noted that with Uganda’s ratification, an additional two ratifications would facilitate the entry into force of the Agreement. The statement added that the two heads of State noted with satisfaction the cordial relations that exist between the two countries.
“They noted the existing cooperation in various fields including transport, trade, tourism, defence and security, and pledged to continue closely working together for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” the statement added.
The two leaders also emphasized the need for the African Union force in Somalia commonly known as AMISOM to continue supporting the government there in order to strengthen its capacity to maintain peace and stability ahead of the upcoming elections. They added that there is need for AMISOM to maintain a strong presence in Somalia and to avoid the premature demands for a troop drawdown, which would affect the gains made so far.
There has been demand by international organisations like the European Union and the United States that fund Amisom for the steady withdrawal of African Union forces from Somalia so that the government there completely takes over.
However the African Union and the troop contributing countries including Uganda have opposed this move saying, the Mogadishu based government is too weak as compared to its advisory; the Al Shabab. They add that troop withdrawal from Somalia would mean the rebirth of the militant group that had been successfully pushed out from many parts of Somalia.