Mubarak, Burundi VP Rufyikiri discuss Nile sharing

President Hosni Mubarak on Monday held talks with Gervais Rufyikiri, second vice-president of the Republic of Burundi, in Cairo to discuss methods of strengthening relations between Nile Basin countries.

The two heads of state also discussed bilateral relations as well as African issues of mutual importance.

Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Nasr Eddin Allam received Rufyikiri and his 11-member diplomatic delegation upon arrival.

Analysts say Egypt fears Burundi will join the agreement signed by five upstream riparian nations which aims to re-distribute Nile flow. Cairo considers the accord negligent of Egypt’s historical rights over the Nile.

Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania signed the Entebbe framework agreement in April, despite Egyptian and Sudanese opposition.

In August, Cairo announced officials from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo pledged to not sign the accord. Neither country, thus far, has signed.

In related developments, Mubarak held talks on Sunday with Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete.

Negotiations between the two heads of state focused on bolstering bilateral economic ties as well as the Nile-sharing issues.

Mubarak also met with Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki on Thursday to discuss key African and Middle Eastern issues as well as enhanced cooperation between the two countries.

These meetings come amid heightened tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi recently accused Egypt of backing insurgents in the Horn of Africa nation.

Ethiopia has spearheaded the effort to re-distribute Nile flow.

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