South Sudan government has said that it is still studying – cautiously- the Nile Basin Framework agreement after Ethiopia asked the world’s youngest country to join the water agreement in order to guarantee its future share of Nile waters.
This is in response to an appeal by an Ethiopian diplomat who recently urged South Sudan to ratify the treaty to ensure the country benefits from its share of the Nile water.
Ambassador Zelalem Birhan Alemu had said the treaty is essential for averting future problems and helping South Sudan develop its economy.
The Nile basin treaty is a partnership among the Nile riparian states that seeks to develop the river cooperatively, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security.
It applies to the use, development, protection, conservation and management of the Nile River Basin and its resources and establishes an institutional mechanism for cooperation among the Nile Basin States.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi have already signed the treaty, while the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to sign.
It was signed in May 2010. But South Sudan and Eritrea are yet to ratify it.
In an interview with Eye Radio, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Deng says the agreement awaits deliberations by members of the yet-to-be reconstituted national parliament.
“Generally, it is not just a question of ratifying it; it is a process. All the implications are studied and addressed and then South Sudan will ratify it with a very clear mind,” Dau stated, according to the Eye Radio.
Egypt controls the flow of the Nile River based on a 1929 colonial-era agreement between Egypt and Britain.
Both Egypt and Sudan strongly opposed the Nile Basin Initiative and the Comprehensive Framework Agreement, also known as the Entebbe Agreement.
Last year, the Office of President Salva Kiir told Eye Radio that it is not yet time for South Sudan to claim its share of the Nile waters.
It stated that South Sudan was still preoccupied with implementing the revitalized peace agreement.