For centuries, Egypt has sought to be Master of the Nile - seeking to tame the river's unpredictable flow and ensure exclusive control over its use.
|"We are wholly dependent on the Nile. We have no other water
sources. So, the truth is any threat against the Nile waters will result
in the reduction of Egypt's share. This would threaten us with thirst
and death .... We don't have hostile intentions against anyone. We don't
go to war just for the sake of fighting. But if someone is going to
stop the water, Egypt will die of thirst. Then we will fight ... with
all means available"
Hussam Swailam, former Egyptian military general
But today, countries upstream are challenging this dominance and pushing for a greater say and greater share of the River Nile.
|"I know that some people in Egypt have old-fashioned ideas based on
the assumption that the Nile water belongs to them and that Egypt has
the right to decide ... who gets what of the Nile water and that the
upper riparian countries are unable to use the Nile water because they
will be unstable and because they will be poor. These circumstances have
changed and changed forever"
Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian prime minister
The first episode in the three-part Struggle Over the Nile series examines attitudes towards the river in a country where 95 per cent of the population live along its banks and their fears that other Nile basin countries will challenge their historic control over its waters.
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