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Egypt's Sisi arrives in Uganda to participate in Nile Basin Summit

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Jun 2017
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Uganda Thursday morning to participate in the Nile Basin Summit, state news agency MENA reported.

El-Sisi is set to join closed meetings for the heads of states of Nile Basin countries. He is also expected to give a speech in front of the summit.

The president will also participate in bilateral meetings with African leaders to discuss ways of bolstering and developing ties, including with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.

According to MENA, El-Sisi's participation at the first-time summit reflects the high prioroty Egypt has placed on strengthening cooperation with all Nile Basin countries.

Cairo is also participating in an effort to rebuild common ground between all Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) countries, to guarantee the mutual interests of each country in the NBI launch programmes and ensure that no country is harmed by any programme or agreement.

On Monday, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry travelled to Uganda’s Entebbe for ministerial meetings in preparations for Thursday’s presidential summit.

Officials had said earlier that the upcoming summit would look at the results of earlier meetings as well as points of contention on the Entebbe Agreement.

Uganda is the current chair of the Nile Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the NBI. Egypt froze its NBI membership in 2010 over disagreements about the Cooperative Framework Agreement, more commonly known as the Entebbe Agreement.

The NBI comprises 10 permanent members: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Eritrea has observer status.

Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Egypt hopes the upcoming "historical" summit will "come up with a common vision to re-launch the initiative based on the mutual interests of all countries."

Egypt and Sudan have declined to sign the Entebbe Agreement -- which sets out the principles and obligations of member states regarding the use of the basin's water resources -- citing concerns about its reallocation of water quotas and other provisions.

Historic water-sharing pacts between Egypt and Sudan continue to govern the distribution of Nile water between the two countries. 

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