Egypt and Uganda signed a military intelligence cooperation agreement, on Wednesday, at the Ugandan intelligence headquarters in the capital, Kampala.
This comes at a time of heightened tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile.
The Ugandan government said in a statement that the signed agreement is the result of a meeting between officials from the two countries that Cairo hosted last December.
The statement quoted the head of the Ugandan Military Intelligence Service, Abel Kandehu, as saying that the agreement establishes the continuation of cooperation between the two agencies in the field of exchanging information on a regular basis, which is necessary to combat terrorism and other crimes.
According to the statement, which was published by the page of the Egyptian embassy in Kampala, Major General Sameh Saber Al-Degwi, head of the Egyptian delegation and deputy head of the Egyptian intelligence service, stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries.
“The fact that Uganda and Egypt share the Nile and cooperation between the two countries is inevitable, because what affects the Ugandans will affect in one way or another,” Al-Degwy said.
The Egyptian government did not officially comment on the Ugandan statement, but an informed source confirmed that the signing of the agreement took place this week, indicating that it comes in the context of strengthening relations between the two countries.
The Egyptian intelligence delegation arrived in Uganda, one of the sources of the Nile, four days ago as part of an official visit to hold talks with senior officials there regarding security and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.
Under this agreement, Egypt and Uganda will exchange intelligence information on a regular basis.
The last round of negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia, which was held recently in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, failed, and Cairo described it as a “last chance”, and the meeting ended with an exchange of accusations between the concerned parties – Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
And Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi recently warned of “unimaginable instability” that the region may face because of the Ethiopian dam, saying that “no one will be allowed to take a single drop of Egypt’s water.”
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water, sees the dam as an existential threat. Sudan also expresses its concern about the impact of the dam on the flow of water in its lands.
As for Ethiopia, it relies on the dam to enhance its ability to generate electricity, as well as to drive economic development.
The dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia revolves around the period of filling and how to operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the course of the Nile River.
Egypt demands that the period of filling the dam be extended to ten years, taking into account the drought years, while Ethiopia adheres to four to seven years, instead of two to three years, according to Ethiopian government sources.
Egypt had made a proposal that it said aims to avoid drought and stipulates that Ethiopia not start filling the dam without Egypt’s approval, which was rejected by Ethiopia.
It is noteworthy that the Ethiopian government began building the Renaissance Dam in April 2011 with the aim of producing hydroelectric power in the Ethiopian state of Benishangul, close to the Sudanese border, to fill Ethiopias shortage of electric power and to export electricity to neighboring countries.
The three countries, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan held many rounds of negotiations under the auspices of the African Union, but without reaching a final and binding agreement for the three parties.