Egypt rejects Nile-Congo linking project
Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy - YOUM7

CAIRO: Egypt officially rejected a proposal to link the Nile River with Congo River due to “technical reasons,” said the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources advisory for dams affairs Alaa Yassine in a news conference Monday.

Sarko Overseas, a private company owned by Ibrahim Al-Fayoumi previously submitted to the Egyptian Ministry a report about the feasibility of a project linking the two rivers, that estimated Egypt could receive an additional 110 cubic meters of water annually from the Congo River, Yassine was quoted by Youm7.

Upon the proposal, the ministry formed a committee of experts who met with the company head and representatives Dec. 3, 2014 to discuss the hydraulic and technical matters.

“The committee asked the company to submit more details of the proposal and officially invited the company head and his team three times on Dec. 11, 29 and 30, 2014 to hold a second meeting,” he added.

However, the company head did not respond to the invitation, according to Yassine who noted that Minister Hossam al-Moghazy held a meeting with Fayoumy Oct. 20, 2014 and no required details were given to the minister.

The committee concluded that the project did not meet the international standards, saying “the way of water direction from the Congo River to a link or a stream that will be created has not been determined yet,” in a report submitted to the Cabinet and the presidency.

A 2013 study conducted by Gamal Al-Qalyoubi, professor of petroleum and energy at the American University in Cairo, examined how to link the Nile and Congo water systems. Around 1,000 billion cubic meters of Congo River water is washed into the Atlantic annually, the study said, and Qalyoubi noted that water could be diverted by digging a 600-kilometer canal from the Nile in southern Sudan to northern Sudan and then to Lake Nasser.

“Such a proposal is not listed in the Ministry’s plan to develop the water resources of Egypt,” he said, however, and called for focusing on the case of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other water issues.

Egypt and Ethiopia are in talks about the controversial dam, the construction of which chilled relations between Addis Ababa and Cairo. Egypt said the construction would affect its share of Nile water, whereas Ethiopia has claimed the dam is necessary for its development. But in a move some have seen as a thaw, both states agreed to the tripartite talks that started in August and were hosted by Sudan.

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