Dehai News In-Depth Analysis: Past agreements on the Nile in view of the Law of Treaty and the CFA

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Thursday, 12 October 2017

In-depth analysis: Past agreements on the Nile in view of the Law of Treaty and the CFA

By Nebiyu Tedla

October 12, 2017 / 2k

Addis Abeba October 12/2017 – The use of the Nile River has for centuries been monopolized by the lower riparian countries that claim ‘historic right’ over the waters. The hegemony over the Nile Waters has been under these countries, thus building tensions among the riparian countries. The upper riparian countries which are sources of the water were for long alienated from their own vital resource.

Colonial treaties signed between the colonies and their ‘masters’ as well as treaties made among themselves are often mentioned as the legal foundation of their right to monopoly of the Nile waters by Egypt and Sudan. The upper riparian countries, especially Ethiopia, strongly reject these treaties and label them as nullified and as having no legal effect on the use of the Nile.

The debate over the use of the Nile still continues. However, upper riparian countries are gaining momentum in advancing their position and there are signs that lower riparian countries, particularly Sudan, have started to listen to the arguments of the rest, and even to go as far as backing some projects on the Nile.

Though the Nile case is made more complex due to political factors involved, it would appear important to view the debate from the perspective of international law. In this regard, the law of treaties and the international legal framework will be discussed with the view to better understand and explain the issue. The claims of each side will then be analyzed in the context of the law of treaties and the Cooperative Framework Agreement.

The Nile River Basin

The Nile River is the longest river in the world. Running through 6695 km, the Nile is a major trans-boundary water in the globe. The Nile river Basin is a confluence of the Blue Nile stemming from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and the White Nile, stemming from Lake Victoria in Uganda. The Ethiopian waters constitute by far the greater share of the Nile.

The Nile and its tributaries flow though eleven countries, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Basin is home to different people and culture, and over 350 million people live around. The fact that the Nile Water is the lifeblood for the people who live around it makes the cooperation and interactions among the riparian countries complex....................

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