Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir has been in the country for a two-day state visit. While in Uganda, Bashir and his host President Museveni discussed among other things River Nile cooperation and the launch of Sudanese Airline direct flights from Khartoum to Entebbe.
On her twitter account, Linda Nabusayi, the President’s press secretary, said that the during the two-day visit, President Museveni and the Sudanese leader discussed the River Nile cooperation, including industrialisation and electrification as one of the ways to save the river.
The River Nile is the longest river in the world, with many different stretches which flow through a number of east African countries. Statistics show that Sudan, takes up about 70 per cent of the River Nile.
“The river is an important part of Sudanese economics and culture. Water is drawn for agriculture and used to irrigate the fields along the river. Also, local fishing is done at the river. Therefore, President Bashir had put it on the agenda when he visited the Ugandan leader,” an international relation analyst, who preferred anonymity, observed.
He said any threat on the River Nile affects industrialization in Sudan.
“River Nile feeds Aswan High Dam which is located at the northern border between Egypt and Sudan,” he said.
Decline to sign new charter
It remains unclear why Sudan and Egypt declined to sign a new charter known as the Cooperative Framework Agreement, which seeks to redefine cooperation and sharing of the world’s longest river.
Both countries had signed with Britain in 1929 and in 1959, granting them larger quotas of the river flow.
But the two countries refused to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement because it requires members not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin states, according to article 14(b).
Analysts said the absence of two countries remain a serious matter, affecting the cooperation.
To boost its economic interests in Uganda, Tarco, Sudanese private air line launched its direct flights to Entebbe.
Tarco has been previously flying to Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
President Museveni observed that the designation of the direct flight route will improve connectivity between the two countries and promote trade, tourism and investment.