Uganda, Egypt ink security deal amid strain over Nile dam
Thursday April 08 2021
Uganda's defence ministry said Thursday it had signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with its Egyptian counterparts, bolstering security ties amid regional tensions over a massive hydropower dam on the Nile.
The deal will facilitate regular exchange of intelligence between security agencies on transnational threats such as terrorism, Uganda's deputy defence ministry spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told AFP.
He said the signing ceremony in Kampala late Wednesday followed a meeting between Ugandan and Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo in December.
A separate statement issued by the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) said the head of Egypt's delegation, Major General Sameh Saber El-Degwi, had stressed the shared security interests between their nations in a speech at an official dinner.
"The fact that Uganda and Egypt share the Nile, cooperation between the two countries is inevitable because what affects Ugandans will in one way or other affect Egypt," he was quoted as saying.
The agreement comes as Egypt and Sudan fiercely oppose Ethiopia's construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, a main tributary of the world's longest river.
The GERD, Africa's largest hydroelectric project, is seen by both downstream countries as a grave threat to their own water supply.
Ethiopia says power produced by the GERD will be vital to meet the needs of its 110 million-strong population, and has vowed to continue with the second stage of filling the dam's reservoir as scheduled during the upcoming rainy season.
Addis Ababa announced last July it had met its first year filling target, infuriating Egypt and Sudan, and accelerating diplomatic efforts to ease decade-long tensions over the sharing of the Nile waters.
Repeat efforts at mediation have failed to resolve the bitter dispute, with the latest round of talks this month in Kinshasa ending with accusations hurled and little progress.