'Tanzania understands that Nile is the lifeblood of Egypt,' says Tanzanian FM

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Jan 2018

Tanzanian FM
Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (L) and Tanzanian foreign minister Augustine Mahiga (R) on 10 Jan 2018. (Photo: The Official Facebook Account Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt)

Tanzania understands that the River Nile is the lifeblood of Egypt, Tanzanian foreign minister Augustine Mahiga said during a joint press conference with Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Wednesday. 

Mahiga said that he and Shoukry discussed ongoing talks between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), expressing his confidence that bilateral relations and maximising the use of Nile water for both countries was a vital issue in solving conflicts.

The Tanzanian minister added that the Nile was the lifeblood of all Nile Basin countries, and that its use is regulated through international agreements that organise the use of water, affirming his country’s support of negotiations between Nile Basin Countries.

Shoukry addressed developments in Egypt's diplomatic relations with Sudan, which recalled its ambassador to Cairo last week for consultation.

Egypt has said that the Sudanese move was over the Halayeb and Shalateen region in southern Egypt, which Sudan claims is its sovereign territory.

The Egyptian foreign minister said that Egypt aspires to strengthen ties with Sudan, denying that the two countries have suspended the 2004 Four Freedoms agreement, which allows free movement of citizens between both countries, as well as working and owning property with no special permit.

Shoukry added, however, that the agreement has not been effect over the past period.

Shortly before the press conference, Shoukry said that Egyptian companies wish to increase investments in Tanzania, especially in petrochemicals, agriculture, energy, as well as fighting corruption.

Shoukry also highlighted the role played by the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) and the Egyptian Nile Basin Development initiative in offering expertise for Tanzanian trainees.

Abu Zeid added that the two ministers held a political consultation meeting before the launch of operations of the Egyptian-Tanzanian joint ministerial committee. 

The talks covered a number of regional issues of bilateral interest, including the latest round of GERD negotiations and Shoukry’s recent visit to Ethiopia, as well as the instability in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and several other African countries.

The meeting also involved discussions on issues set to be discussed at the 30th African Union Summit, which is scheduled to take place from 22 to 29 January 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The African duo’s talks come ahead of the conclusion of the third round of joint Egyptian-Tanzanian talks on strengthening bilateral cooperation.

The joint committee's meetings began on Tuesday at the level of senior officials, and were headed by Egypt's Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mohamed Idris and the Permanent Secretary of the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

The committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday will be attended by officials from the two countries’ ministries of agriculture, irrigation, water resources, electricity, trade, investment, health and tourism.

The meetings will include "intensive talks between the two sides on strengthening existing cooperation in these fields, and exploring new areas and prospects of enhancing cooperation between Egypt and Tanzania."

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi visited the Tanzanian city of Dar Al-Salam in August 2017 and called for closer economic and trade cooperation between Egypt and the eastern African country.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli is set to visit Egypt in 2018.

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