Nile Deal

The AP’s Charles Hanely reports that a deal is near between the nine nations that share (or don’t share) the waters of the Nile:

After three years of closed-door talks, nine nations are quietly edging toward a deal to jointly oversee the waters of the Nile, an agreement that has eluded lands along the great river since the days of the pharaohs.

An expected meeting of water ministers next month may produce a preliminary accord, officials say.

Such a pact would right a colonial-era wrong that reserved the world’s longest river for irrigation in Egypt and Sudan, effectively denying its waters to Uganda and other upriver countries.

But there may be less here than meets the eye. Cracking the Nile problem is one of the great international water struggles. Hanley’s story suggests the agreement is modest:

The agreement among Nile nations wouldn’t assign shares of river water but would formalize the principle of equal voices and establish a nine-nation commission to tackle detailed issues later.

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