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Cairo Offers to Host Upcoming Nile Basin Summit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks to the media after the signing ceremony for a deal to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant between Egypt and Russia at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Cairo– Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi described the holding of the first summit for Nile Basin countries as a “historic event.”

Speaking at the summit held in Uganda, the Egyptian president said: “The summit is a historic event and a clear message to our people that the Nile river unites us and does not separate us.”

He also stressed that common interests of Nile Basin countries could be achieved by benefiting from the region’s natural and human resources, with the aim to build and develop societies, reject conflicts and face challenges such as water scarcity and climate change.

Sisi added that Egypt fully understood the developmental needs of the Nile Basin population and would assist the concerned countries to fulfill those needs.

The Egyptian president talked about his country’s contribution to the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which was launched in 1999. He stressed that the initiative was aimed at strengthening cooperation among member states and avoiding any possible conflicts in the region.

He underlined the importance of launching new infrastructure projects along the Nile River, noting that only 84 billion cubic meters out of 1,600 cubic meters flow down to the waterway while the rest was wasted.

He also said that 97 percent of Egypt’s water reliance came from the Nile and that overpopulation decreased the individual’s annual share to 640 cubic meters.

Sisi called on Nile Basin members to adopt a common vision to face water challenges and promote water security in the region. He also said that his country was ready to welcome the upcoming summit of Nile Basin countries.

Earlier on Thursday, the Egyptian president met with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.

An official statement released by the president’s office said that Sisi told Museveni that Egypt was adamant on ending divisions in a way that would restore cooperation between all Nile Basin countries and accomplish mutual goals that exceed cooperation in the field of water to reach other developmental fields.