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Egypt's image of Africa needs to improve: Morsi's advisor

Egypt's foreign policy advisor to presidency calls for fresh negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia in light of the latter's moves to redirect the build a dam that could reduce Egypt's available water

Ahram Online , Thursday 30 May 2013
Essam Haddad
Egyptian presidential aide for foreign affairs Essam El-Haddad (Photo: Ahram)
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Egypt's foreign policy advisor to the presidency, Essam Haddad, stated late Wednesday that "If Egypt's strategic foreign policy puts Africa as a priority, then bilateral Egypt-Ethiopia relations come at the core of this issue."

A statement published on Haddad's Facebook page described Ethiopia as a crucial country in the African continent and one of its emerging economies. It is also a primary actor in the Horn of Africa region, which is undergoing economic and strategic changes that affect Egypt's national security.

Ethiopia, Haddad added, along with Sudan, is a strategic partner in the Nile water portfolio.

"Egypt needs to reassert these ties and work hard to establish a line of communication with Ethiopia, which will entail strengthening political, economic, social and cultural ties between the two countries and Africa as a whole," Haddad added.

Additionally, Haddad asserted that Egypt needs to push for fresh negotiations on the Nile water issue and that Egyptian diplomacy needs to redouble its effort to reach an agreement that is accepted by all parties and based on a foundation of justice.

Haddad added that the agreement should not necessarily amount to "equals share" of Nile water resources, but rather "adequate provision of water of the Nile Basin according to the needs of each country."

Egyptian negotiators should incorporate modern concepts, rain harvesting and cutting down on the exploitation of other resources, he added.

"Egypt's image of Africa needs to improve. Egypt's opposition to the dam was negatively perceived by Africans who felt that Egypt was standing in the way of their development," Haddad stated. He claimed that this opposition was the more offensive as the dam project spearheaded by former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was a national project behind which all Ethiopians united.

Nevertheless, Egypt strives to be a partner with African nations, and respects other countries' rights in the development of their societies, Haddad said.

Haddad underlined that Ethiopia's moves take into account the results of the tripartite international experts committee on the dam, just as Egypt would not preemptively make a move without studying the effects of a given project on neighbouring countries which would be affected by it.

Ethiopia on Tuesday began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its project to build a new dam.

The majority of the Nile water that reaches Egypt and Sudan orginates in the Blue Nile.

The Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government, amid sensitivities about any effect on the volume of water that will reach Egypt if the project is completed.

The dam is one of four hydro-electric power projects planned for construction in Ethiopia.

Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.

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Habesha
02-06-2013 12:52pm
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We are brothers and friends.
We, Ethiopian, don't have any interest to hurt Sudanese and Egyptian people. We never even thought for single day or second. Both are our African and Arab friends. We have to work together for our people. Opposing without facts doesn't make sense and will not bring any change. Why we fight, while 90% of Ethiopians are without electricity and live under $2/day. We, Ethiopian, equality understand that Nile water as the life line of Egyptian people. We don't want to hurt their social, political and economical benefits. We respect their right. We need our right to be respected as well. Yes, we need to balance and work how countries will not be affected by the dam. A win -win situation. As I understood, the dam has no effect to both countries. Ethiopia has worked and considered very well to avoid any controversial.
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M. Ali
31-05-2013 10:58am
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good start
Diplomacy and good relation will always payoff. However, as usual Egypt looks in to Africa when it needs something. Egypt disregarded the Nile basin countries for a long time. For decades it undermined the Nile Basin initiative discussion. Now ,Mr. Essam acknowledges his government faults. That is a good start. People are talking about Ethiopia… News flash- Uganda is building a dam too.
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sherif
30-05-2013 05:45pm
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assistant for foriegn affairs who know nothing
Mr essam enough what you are doing... you have zero experience in foriegn affairs ...
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medo elmasry
30-05-2013 05:10pm
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we lost the nile
what a nice speech by mr Essam but i hope to look to the facts and understand that Renaissance dam is an Israeli project and funds by the Israeli government to buy water from Ethiopia and to seige Egypt more and more to control with our lives.
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Cullum
30-05-2013 06:25pm
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See world map Dude
Ethiopia don't border with and cant sale water to Israel. Isreal don't fund the dam
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Tedros Solomon
30-05-2013 04:20pm
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Good Step Forward By Egyptians.
I really Essam El-Haddad, Egyptian presidential aide for foreign affairs. Peaceful negotiation matters the most in solving the existing conflictual interests of the two populous countries in Africa. We Ethiopians are not saying that, we are going the water alone. But we insist on using together for better integration of the horn of Africa states. I know that the project will successfully completed on the proposed time_ so it will be a good opportunity for our neighboring countries to import power from Ethiopia so as to achieve comprehensive development. We should swim, not sink together. I thank you_ peace should prevail in our continent.
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Jamal
30-05-2013 03:19pm
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Nile
I've been reading a lot of egyptian medias on the dam some of you want war because we want to develop our country will build the dam no matter what the dam and the nile is a matter of life and death for as to and I promise you we will never shy away from defending our nation and the dam
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Guta
30-05-2013 07:02pm
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Let's think like the 21st century people
How can one expect us(Ethiopians) to just let the Nile wash away our land & starve. All we are saying is let's us together. Also note that this time we are using the water for power generation, not for irrigation & hence no reduction in the amount flowing to Egypt. If somebody doesn't agree with this, who cares. We are more than ready to accept what might be coming. It's useful to think like the man of this century, not like the colonisers bros.
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