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June 9, 2013 – - -
May 28, 2013, was a turning point in the brewing Nile water crisis when Ethiopia activated the diversion of the course of the Blue Nile in order to make way for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (that will be very close to the Sudanese border). When completed in five years, the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa – producing about 6,000 MW. The reservoir will hold 63 billion cubic meters of water – making it one of Africa’s largest. The Blue Nile will return to its natural course after the completion of the dam’s construction in 2018.
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Juba to hold the 21st Nile Council of Ministers meeting.

JUBA, June 6 2013 – - – Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries will on June 20, convene in Juba, the capital of the Republic of South Sudan for the 21st annual Nile Council of Ministers (NILE_COM) meeting.

The annual regular meeting of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) governing body will deliberate on how to move the Nile cooperation  forward and discuss administrative issues such as assessing the performance of the NBI work plan for the previous year fiscal year, review and approval of the work plan and budget for fiscal year 2013/2014. The meeting will also review and endorse a number of strategy and policy documents. The official Nile Basin Website stated.

The Nile- COM meeting will also witness handover of the leadership of the Nile Council of Ministers from Rwanda to South Sudan.

South Sudan joined the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) on July 5 last year taking number seven on the alphabetical listing order of the member states thereby assuming the  one year leadership of the body after Rwanda. The other members include Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

“South Sudan has stake on the Nile Basin waters, its usage, management and development”. Said Alier Bullen Ngong, the Director General of Water Resources and Management in South Sudan’s Water Resources and Irrigation ministry.

Ngong said South Sudan stands to benefit from the common basket funds that are within the regional block. He said South Sudan laying between downstream and upstream of the Nile , upon assuming chair of the regional block will use its position to coordinate with various position within the NBI to spearhead the existing cooperation.

Ngong made these remarks yesterday in Juba while chairing a meeting of the organizing committee at Water and Irrigation Board room.

“Strengthen UNISFA”, Kiir urges AU/PSC

ADDIS ABABA, May 27 2013 – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit has called on the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU/PSC) to strengthen the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) following the killing of the Paramount Chief Deng Koul Deng of Abyei.

The late paramount chief was killed on 4 May 2013 when a convoy he was travelling in came under attack believed to have been carried out by some elements from the Messeriya Arab nomads group. One UN solider was also killed.

H.E President Salva Kiir meeting the AUPSC
H.E President Salva Kiir meeting the AUPSC
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]
In a meeting with the AU/SPC yesterday in Addis Ababa on the margins of the African Union Jubilee celebrations, President Kiir said the situation in the area would get worse if the UN security force is not strengthened to face the current security challenges.

The AU has called for an immediate investigation in the murder of the chief with both Presidents Kiir and Omar El-Bashir pledging their support for the investigations. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia H.E Haile Mariam Desalegn.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth