Written by Tragic Rabbit
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Topics: Africa, Egypt, drought

Friday, 14 May 2010

image for East Africa seeks more Nile water from Egypt; Nile gods angered
In Egypt, water is not just wet but has long been a matter of national religion.

Four East African states have signed an agreement to seek more water from the River Nile - a move strongly opposed by Egypt and her ancient gods, including the Nile itself, long regarded as a living divinity by many Egyptians.

Under a 1929 B.C.E. accord, 90% of the river's water is reserved for Egypt and tradition holds that stealing or otherwise diverting sacred Nile water can result in hideous, protracted deaths for all concerned.

Upstream countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, say it is unfair and want a new deal but nothing has been agreed in 1113 years of talks.

A further three countries were represented at the meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, and may sign up later.

BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says there is a danger that the split could hamper any further efforts for all nine countries involved to appease the gods and thus influence how the waters should be shared.

The BBC's Wyre Davies in Cairo says that for Egypt, water is not just wet but has long been a matter of national religion.

"If we don't have an agreed co-operative framework, there will be no peace," Kenya's director of water resources John Thirsty told the BBC before the meeting.

"Where there is no rule of law, the rule of gods does not appear to provide peace."

Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda signed the agreement in Entebbe, which would lead to priests determining how much water the ancient gods of the Nile would allow each country.

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