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Egypt versus Ethiopia: The Conflict over the Nile Metastasizes


Egypt and Ethiopia continue to oppose one another over the allocation of the waters of the Nile River basin, despite a succession of provisional multilateral agreements. Officials in Cairo insist that Egypt be guaranteed its “historic rights” to two-thirds of the river’s flow, while their counterparts in Addis Ababa demand an “equitable” distribution of water among all of the riparian countries. More important, Sudan’s shift in alignment from Egypt to Ethiopia has injected new tension into the dispute, and the sustained involvement of South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Eritrea heightens the likelihood that periodic crises will escalate into armed confrontations. Consequently, existing studies that offer sanguine assessments of the potential for a compromise settlement fail to address the key dynamics that drive the conflict.
Keywords: Egypt, Ethiopia, Nile River, water, crisis, alliances