Agenzia Fides REPORT - Pope Shenouda III, spiritual leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church could play a role as mediator in the dispute that opposes Egypt and Ethiopia for the redistribution of the Nile waters. According to the Egyptian daily Al Masri al Youm, Mona Omar, Secretary for African Affairs of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has welcomed a possible mediation by Shenouda III. "There is a strong relationship between the Egyptian and Ethiopian churches - said the senior member of Cairo -. The Coptic Pope Shenouda III is generally respected by all Christians in the world and in Africa in particular. "
Ethiopia has announced the construction of a dam with an adjacent hydroelectric plant on the Blue Nile in the western region of Benishangul. The future plant , with 6 thousand megawatts of power, provoked violent controversy and alarm in Egypt, with the risk of impoverishment of water resources of the Nile, with serious damage to the Egyptian economy. Ethiopia needs the new plant to triple the production of electricity, and said that Egypt is not at risk because once the turbines of the plant are powered, the water will be left free to continue its course towards the sea.
The dispute regards the "Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), reached in May 2010 in Entebbe, Uganda, after ten years of negotiations. The agreement provides for amendments to the 1929 colonial treaty that gave Egypt the right to veto projects which it believes could interfere with the flow of the river, which flows 6,600 km from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean. A subsequent agreement with Sudan in 1959 gave the two countries 90% control of the Nile waters, approximately 70 million cubic meters a year. The CFA was signed by Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi. The Democratic Republic of Congo has not signed yet, while Egypt and Sudan have opposed . The independence of southern Sudan, established by referendum in January is likely to further complicate the situation.