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Sudanese FM says dam deadlock will be broken, Sudan and Egypt on same page

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 May 2018
EGYPT-SUDAN
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi met on Tuesday May 29, 2018 with Sudanese Foreign Minister El-Dardiri Mohamed Ahmed in Cairo (Photo: courtesy of Egypt's presidential spokesperson official account)
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Sudan's Foreign Minister El-Dardiri Mohamed Ahmed said his country, along with Egypt and Ethiopia, were determined to end the deadlock in talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project, following the failure of previous negotiations.

"We are determined to overcome our differences on issues pertaining to the Renaissance Dam on a tripartite level between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia," Ahmed said in a press conference with the attendance of Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Shoukry said "there was a great deal of agreement between the Egyptian and Sudanese sides" on the dam saga.

Ahmed reiterated that there is no difference between the Sudanese and Egyptian positions regarding the project, pointing out that there are agreements and reference points that specify how the two countries should cooperate with other Nile Basin countries.

Ahmed stressed that these agreements were the basis of coordination with Ethiopia.

"There are challenges and difficulties and we are in a pivotal phase in the Nile Basin region," he said.

Ahmed also announced a bilateral summit between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir to be held in October.

Libya crisis

Meanwhile, Shoukry said that he and Ahmed had discussed the Libyan crisis and agreed that a resolution could only be reached by both parties rejecting any international intervention.

Shoukry's comments came as rival Libyan factions simultaneously agreed in Paris on a declaration that would pave the way for U.N.-backed elections in December to end the country's seven-year conflict.

The oil-producing nation splintered following the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and since 2014 has been divided between competing political and military groups based in Tripoli and the east.

The United Nations is leading an effort to reunify Libya and to organise national elections.

The Paris meeting, which included eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar; Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez Seraj; and the leaders of rival parliamentary assemblies, aimed to urge both parties to agree to general principles that would end the conflict and move the country toward elections.

The "red line" in Egypt-Sudan relations                                                     

Hours ahead of the press conference, El-Sisi received FM Ahmed in Cairo to discuss bilateral issues, Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady said in a statement.

Shoukry, as well as Egypt's head of Intelligence Abbas Kamal, attended the meetings.

This was the first visit by the Sudanese FM visit to Egypt since he took office on 15 May. 

"Ways of enhancing bilateral relations and activating aspects of joint cooperation in various fields, as well as a number of regional issues and matters of common concern were also reviewed," Rady said.

Following the meeting, the Sudanese and Egyptian FMs met for a wide-ranging session of talks, which covered bilateral relations and regional issues of common concern.

Among the issues discussed were a common electricity interconnection project between Egypt and Sudan, cooperation in the field of airport management and security, and challenges faced by the Nile Valley Authority for river navigation between Egypt's Aswan and Northern Sudan's Wadi Halfa.

The ministers also discussed Sudan's ban on Egyptian agricultural products, implementing the work of the Egyptian Sudanese Company for Agricultural Integration, and settling EgyptAir's debts to Khartoum.

Later at the joint press conference, Ahmed said that good relations between Egyptians and Sudanese are a red line that should not be crossed. He referred to an Egyptian TV serial aired during Ramadan that he said had "gotten out of hand."

On Saturday, Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested a meeting with Egypt's Ambassador to Khartoum Osama Shaltout to object to the series, which it claimed promotes "stereotypes about accusations of terrorism against Egyptians living in or visiting Sudan," according to a statement by the Sudanese Foreign Ministry.   

The drama serial, titled Abu Omar Al-Masri, airs on privately-owned channel On-E and features armed Islamic terrorist groups who receive training in Sudan.

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