Egypt signs security deal with Uganda amid Nile dam tensions

The deal will enable the regular exchange of intelligence between security agencies on transnational threats such as terrorism, Uganda’s defence ministry deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, said.
Thursday 08/04/2021
The signing ceremony between Egypt and Uganda. (Deo Akiiki Twitter)
The signing ceremony between Egypt and Uganda. (Deo Akiiki Twitter)

KAMPALA - Uganda’s defence ministry said Thursday it had signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with its Egyptian counterparts, bolstering security ties amid regional tensions over a massive hydro-power dam on the Nile.

The deal will enable the regular exchange of intelligence between security agencies on transnational threats such as terrorism, Uganda’s defence ministry deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, said.

He explained the signing ceremony in Kampala late Wednesday followed a meeting between Ugandan and Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo in December.

A separate statement issued by the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) said the head of Egypt’s delegation, Major General Sameh Saber El-Degwi, a top Egyptian intelligence official who headed Cairo’s delegation to Kampala, had stressed in a speech at an official dinner the shared security interests between their nations.

“The fact that Uganda and Egypt share the Nile, cooperation between the two countries is inevitable because what affects Ugandans will in one way or other affect Egypt,” he said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has warned of the risk of armed conflict over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the Nile.

Ugandan army’s deputy spokesman Deo Akiiki speaks to media at tally centre in Kampala, on January 15, 2021. (AFP)
Ugandan army’s deputy spokesman Deo Akiiki speaks to media at tally centre in Kampala, on January 15, 2021. (AFP)

Egypt and Sudan fiercely oppose the dam’s construction.

The GERD, Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, is seen by both downstream countries as a grave threat to their own water supply.

Ethiopia says power produced by the GERD will be vital to meet the needs of its 110 million population. It has vowed to press on with the second stage of filling the dam’s reservoir, as scheduled, during the upcoming rainy season.

Addis Ababa announced last July it had met its first year filling target, infuriating Egypt and Sudan and accelerating diplomatic efforts to ease decade-long tensions over the sharing of the Nile waters.

Repeated efforts at mediation have failed to resolve the bitter dispute, with the latest round of talks this month in Kinshasa ending with accusations hurled but little progress.