Burundi stands by Egypt in efforts to preserve its water security: Assembly speaker to Egyptian FM Shoukry

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Apr 2018

d Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Burundi's President of National Assembly Pascal Nyabenda in the Burundian capital Bujumbura on Tuesday 17 April 2018 (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Burundi will always stand by Egypt in its efforts to preserve its water security, Burundi's President of National Assembly Pascal Nyabenda told Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during a Tuesday meeting in the Burundian capital Bujumbura.

In an official statement, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Nyabenda stressed his country's full understanding of Egypt's water needs and the extent to which the country depends on Nile water.

The two officials discussed converging viewpoints between Nile Basin countries, developments in the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations, parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, and efforts to accomplish domestic peace in Burundi.

The meeting come as Egypt anticipates a 20 April meeting in Cairo with Ethiopian and Sudanese water and foreign affairs ministers for talks on the GERD, nearly two weeks after a meeting in Khartoum in the beginning of April was deemed fruitless.

Shoukry, in his first visit to Burundi, stressed Egypt’s keenness to boost relations with Nile Basin countries in general and with Burundi in particulate in light of the special historical relations between the two countries.

Shoukry said that Egypt is still committed to providing political and economic support to Burundi, which was presented clearly in Egypt's stances supporting Burundi in international and regional meetings, especially during its membership in the UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017.

Shoukry also met with his Burundian counterpart Alain Aimé Nyamitwe, where they discussed GERD negotiations.

Shoukry stressed to Nyamitwe that Egypt engages in the talks with Ethiopia and Sudan with seriousness and flexibility, affirming that it has not at any stage wished that the construction of the dam be stalled.

He added that Egypt acknowledges that the dam accomplishes developmental interests for the ''Ethiopian brothers," yet it still wants to guarantee that its share of Nile water is not affected.

The Egyptian foreign minister is also set meet Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, as well as inaugurate a number of development projects by Egypt in the African country under the framework of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development.

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 Water 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 utilisation 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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