Egypt's Mubarak rejects Ethiopia's Meles rebel claims


Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has dismissed allegations that his country is supporting rebel groups in Ethiopia.

Mr Mubarak said he was surprised to hear of the accusation made by Ethiopia on Tuesday, as the two countries had a good relationship.

Egypt and Ethiopia are in a long-running dispute over how to share the waters of the River Nile.

Ethiopia has led efforts to tear up a colonial-era treaty that gave Egypt and Sudan 90% of the river's water.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Tuesday told the Reuters news agency that Egypt was backing its rebel groups.

The countries which share the River Nile have been talking about a new agreement for some 13 years without success.

East African countries through which the Nile flows back Ethiopia's demands for a new deal.

Ethiopia - the source of the Blue Nile - contributes an estimated 85% of the river waters but is able to make relatively little use of its natural resource.

Correspondents say that water is seen as a matter of national security for Egypt.

Egypt's farmers are almost wholly dependent on the River Nile and its water.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites