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Burundi Signs Deal on Sharing Nile


Egyptians enjoy a ride along the Nile river, February 15, 2011

Egyptians enjoy a ride along the Nile river, February 15, 2011

Burundi has become the sixth African nation to sign an agreement calling for countries to share the Nile River, clearing the way for the deal to be ratified.

Currently, Egypt controls most of the Nile's waters under a 1929 treaty. If the countries involved ratify the new agreement, Egypt would lose its power to veto Nile projects proposed by other countries.

Burundi signed the accord, known as the Nile Basin Initiative, on Monday. It was signed last year by Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. The Democratic Republic of Congo has also promised to sign the initiative.

The Nile River flows through or near all of those countries before heading into Sudan and then Egypt.

Cairo has not formally rejected the agreement, but it is concerned a new arrangement could leave it without enough water to sustain its population of 80 million.

Sudan has also expressed concern that the new treaty will leave it short of water.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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