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Museveni cautions Egypt on Nile waters

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Police mount guard of honour outside

Police mount guard of honour outside the Kampala Serena Hotel shortly before the reading of the 2013/14 national Budget yesterday. Photo Geoffrey Sseruyange 

By Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi

Posted  Friday, June 14   2013 at  01:00
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President Museveni yesterday sought to join the sparring between Egypt and Ethiopia over usage of the waters of River Nile, warning Egypt to “to restrain the chauvinistic statements” coming out of Cairo.

Uganda is the source of the Nile, and together with Ethiopia, contributes most of its waters.

The President remarks, deliberately made at the end of the budget speech, add to a week of bitter exchanges between Ethiopia and Egypt.

“I have seen statements in the media coming out of the government of Egypt about the commendable work of Ethiopia. What Ethiopia is doing is what governments in Africa should do,” Mr Museveni said in reference to a mega hydropower project that the government in Addis Ababa is building, which this week attracted bitter comments from Egypt’s new President Muhammad Morsi.

“The new government of Egypt should not repeat the mistakes of previous governments,” Museveni said, “the biggest threat to the Nile is not building hydropower dams, the biggest threat is the continued under development of countries in the tropics,” Museveni told a sitting of Parliament which was attended by diplomats at the Serena Hotel.

“No African wants to hurt Egypt, however, Egypt cannot continue to hurt black Africa,” Museveni said.

The comments are likely to add to the growing divide between upper and lower riparian states over the Nile waters.
Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi reignited debate on the Nile waters when he warned “all options are open” to any attempts to violate his country’s water security in a recent speech.

“Egypt’s water security cannot be violated at all,” Mr Morsi said on Monday. “As president of the state, I confirm to you that all options are open.”

“The lives of the Egyptians are connected around it... as one great people. If it diminishes by one drop then our blood is the alternative.”

cmwanguhya@ug.nationmedia.com