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CAIRO, May 17, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Ambassador to Burundi Abir Bassioni has praised Egypt's win of the best picture award at Burundi Film and Audio Arts Festival FESTICAB.

Egyptian film Shad Agza' (Pulling parts) produced by Hassan al Minyawi won the prize and a certificate of merit for using state-of-the-art technology.

The Egyptian movie was competing with 69 others including nine from Burundi.

FESTICAB is the major film festival in Burundi which promotes the diversity of the African cinema. Egypt has taken part in the festival for the first time this year although FESTICAB was launched ten years ago.

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, May 12, 2018 (News Wires) — Twenty-six people were killed and seven others wounded in an attack in a rural area of Burundi, the country's security minister said Saturday, calling it the work of a "terrorist group" he did not identify.

Speaking at the scene, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni told reporters that 24 people were killed in their homes Friday night and two others died of their wounds at a local hospital.

He gave no further details about the attack in the Ruhagarika community of the rural northwestern province of Cibitoke.

The attack came shortly before Burundians vote May 17 in a controversial referendum that could extend the president's term. It was not immediately clear if the attack was related.

One survivor told The Associated Press (AP) the attackers came around 10 p.m. local time and "attacked households and set fire on houses." Some victims were hacked with machetes and others were shot or burned alive, she said.

Her husband and two children were killed, she said. She spoke on condition of anonymity, citing safety concerns.

This East African country has seen deadly political violence since early 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza successfully pursued a disputed third term. An estimated 1,200 people died.

Now Burundians are being asked to vote on a proposal to extend the president's term from five years to seven, which would allow Nkurunziza to rule for another 14 years when his current term expires in 2020.

Campaigns ahead of the referendum have been marred by hate speech, with one ruling party official sent to prison after he called for those who oppose the referendum to be drowned.

The United States earlier this month denounced "violence, intimidation, and harassment" against those thought to oppose the referendum and expressed concern about the "non-transparent process" of changing the constitution.

Human Rights Watch has noted "widespread impunity" for authorities and their allies, including the ruling party's youth wing, as they try to swing the vote in the president's favor.

Many in Burundi, a poor country that still relies heavily on foreign aid, worry that a new round of bloodshed will follow the referendum no matter its results.

Already more than 400,000 people have fled the country since the political unrest began in April 2015, according to the United Nations.

Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, rose to power in 2005 following the end of Burundi's civil war that killed about 300,000 people. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010 after the opposition boycotted. He said he was eligible for a third term in 2015 because lawmakers, not the general population, chose him for his first term.

CAIRO, April 18, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri on Wednesday met with Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza before concluding his current visit to Bujumbura, Burundi.

During the meeting, the Egyptian foreign minister conveyed a verbal message from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to his Burundian counterpart on boosting relations and the full range of bilateral cooperation files along with a number of issues of mutual concern.

The foreign minister conveyed greetings of President Sisi to Nkurunziza, asserting Egypt’s commitment to supporting relations with Burundi, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The foreign minister also stressed Egypt’s keenness on supporting Burundi at all international forums, especially within the framework of Egypt’s non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2016-2017 as well as its current membership of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) and at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, highlighting the
importance of continuing bilateral coordination.

Shoukri asserted that Egypt will continue providing Burundi with necessary support in all development fields through the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD), mainly with regard to the fields of capacity building and offering scholarships and training courses to build Burundian human cadres.

He expressed pleasure over inaugurating the Egyptian center for kidney dialysis in Burundi, a project that has been funded by the EAPD, that is affiliated to the Foreign Ministry, revealing Egypt’s willingness to establish a neonatal incubators center at the central hospital in Ngozi province.

Talks also took up the Nile River file and Cairo’s keenness to cooperate and coordinate with Bujumbura with the view to bring views of the Nile basin states closer together and restore consensus among them.

For his part, the Burundian president expressed appreciation for Shoukry’s visit to Bujumbura, saying that such move reflects Egypt’s commitment to supporting Burundi.

CAIRO, April 18, 2018 (MENA) - Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Wednesday inaugurated an Egyptian centre for kidney dialysis in Burundi.

The centre is financed by the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development, that is affiliated to the Foreign Ministry, said ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The centre is one of two in Burundi that are funded by Egypt, said the spokesman.

The project comes within the framework of close cooperation between the two sides, added the spokesman.

The Egyptian top diplomat announced during the ceremony that Egypt will also finance establishing an infant incubators centre in the central hospital in southern Burundi, added the spokesman.

Also, the Egyptian Coptic Church will send four medical convoys annually to Burundi, he added.

The minister also visited Lake Tanganyika; the second largest natural lake in the world.

CAIRO, April 17, 2018 – The Speaker of the National Assembly of Burundi, Pascal Nyabenda, said that his country totally understands Egypt's water needs and its reliance on the Nile River, confirming that Burundi has always stood by Egypt in its efforts to ensure its water security.

The senior Burundian official was speaking during a meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri who started an official visit to Bujumbura, Burundian capital, on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

During the meeting, Mr Nyabenda praised the exemplary relations that bind the two countries and confirmed the appreciation of the Burundian people for the support offered by Egypt to their country. "We always feel that the Egyptian people and government stand by the Burundian people in times of need," the Burundian official said.

For his part, FM Shoukri confirmed that Egypt attached great importance to enhancing relations with the Nile Basin countries in general and Burundi in particular, especially in the light of the historical relations that bind the two countries, Spokesman Abu Zeid added.

The Egyptian foreign minister asserted Egypt's keenness on boosting co-operation between the two countries and the need to develop it in every field and to coordinate action on issues of top priority to both sides.

FM Shoukri declared that Egypt was keen on providing political and economic support to Burundi as was clearly demonstrated by the pro-Burundi stances adopted by Egypt at regional and international gatherings, particularly after becoming a member of the UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017, and in the African Union Peace and Security Council and in the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Shoukri's current visit is part of Egypt’s support to Burundi in achieving development, security and stability, Spokesman Abu Zeid said.

Later on, Minister Shoukri  held talks with the Minister of External Relations and International Co-operation, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe, that focused on furthering Egyptian-Burundian ties in all domains.

During the talks, Minister Shoukri emphasised that Cairo was paying due attention to the development of ties with Bujumbura in all fields so as to realise the interests of the peoples of the two countries.

Likewise, Minister Nyamitwe said  that  his country is interested in the deepening of ties with Egypt in every domain. He also paid tribute to efforts made by Egypt for bolstering the pillars of peace and stability in Africa.

Minister Myamitwe, who highlighted his country’s keenness on continuing consultation and coordination with Egypt over African issues of mutual concern,  praised Cairo's efforts to restore stability and security to Africa.

He paid tribute to Egypt's role at both African and international levels and expressed appreciation for Egypt's continuing support of Burundi in such a manner that reflects Egypt's historical weight  in the Continent.

CAIRO, April 16, 2018 (MENA) - Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will head for Burundi on Tuesday for talks on promoting bilateral co-operation and other issues of mutual interest.

The visit comes as part of Egypt's efforts to buttress relations with African countries in all domains and maintain co-ordination over several important issues, including the Nile water file, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

Shoukry will meet with Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza in addition to the foreign minister and parliament speaker.