Egypt's FM Shoukry heading to Burundi to discuss bilateral ties, Nile water issues

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Apr 2018

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP)

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is set to fly to Burundi on Tuesday to work towards boosting relations between the two countries, a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Monday.

Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Shoukry is heading to Burundi's capital of Bujumbura to review joint ties and to discuss issues of bilateral interest.

"The visit comes in the framework of Egypt's special interest to boost and support relations with Nile Basin countries and those of the African continent generally," the statement said.

The Egyptian foreign minister will meet Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, as well as other officials including his Burundian counterpart, and will inaugurate a number of development projects granted by Egypt to the African country under the framework of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development.

Abu Zeid noted that Egypt was the first Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Burundi following the latter's independence in 1962, and added that Egypt has provided aid and training towards development projects for their Burundian brothers, as well as support for Burundi's security and stability during Egypt's membership in the United Nations Security Council in 2016 and 2017.

According to the spokesman, around 150 Burundian trainees participated in training workshops during 2017 in the fields of health, medicine, agriculture, military and police training and combating terrorism. Egypt has also provided medical aid to Burundi in the past, he pointed out.

The issue of the Nile's water and other matters related to African relations will be discussed by Shoukry and his counterparts, according to Abu Zeid.

Burundi is among other Nile basin countries, including Ethiopia, which have previously said that they want to re-negotiate all treaties related to the Nile, including the 1929 Nile Waters Agreement, which gives Egypt the right to veto Nile development projects that might threaten its water share.

Burundi is one of the basin countries expected to pass the Cooperation Framework Agreement on the Nile, which will "promote integrated management, sustainable development, and harmonious utilization of the water resources of the basin, as well as its conservation and protection for the benefit of present and future generations," according to the text of the agreement.

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