Ethiopian Prime Minsiter Meles Zenawi arrives in Cairo, Egypt
Sept. 17 2011
Egypt and Ethiopia have agreed to open a new chapter in relations that were strained under the regime of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak over disputes on Nile water sharing.
Ethiopian Prime Minsiter Meles Zenawi was in Cairo on his first visit since a popular uprising ousted Mubarak in February. Zenawi thanked Prime Minister Essam Sharaf "for helping in opening a new chapter of relations between Egypt and Ethiopia." "We all agree that the Nile is a bridge, it is not a barrier," he told a news conference.
"The future is a new relationship between Ethiopia and Egypt based on a win-win strategy. The past is a past based on a zero-sum game. That is gone. There is no going back," Zenawi said.
Countries that share the Nile River basin have demanded the revision of colonial-era agreements that allot the bulk of the river's water to Egypt and Sudan and allow Cairo to veto upstream projects.
Egypt did not recognise an agreement among other basin countries that revised the treaties.
The revised agreement, signed by Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, seeks to allow irrigation and hydroelectric projects to go ahead without Cairo's consent.
Under the Mubarak regime, Ethiopia took the lead in the campaign against Egypt -- for whom the Nile is just about the only source of water -- but Sharaf's government has repeatedly stressed its intention to resolve the dispute.