Egypt, Iraq to accelerate implementation of joint projects: Sisi to Sudani

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Mar 2023

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi expressed on Sunday Egypt's eagerness to expedite the implementation of joint projects with Iraq in order to accomplish their shared development objectives, promote integration between the two nations, and satisfy the needs of the Iraqi people.

Sisi and Iraqi PM
Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (R) receives Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani in Cairo, 5 March 2023. Iraqi PM media office

El-Sisi made the remarks in a meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, who is on his first official visit to Cairo as premier.

El-Sisi emphasised Egypt's keenness to activate and diversify the frameworks of bilateral cooperation with Iraq on the political, economic, commercial, and cultural levels, Egyptian presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said in a statement.

The president also expressed Egypt's eagerness to maintain trilateral cooperation with Iraq and Jordan.

For his part, Al-Sudani affirmed Iraq’s eagerness to enhance and expand the robust bilateral cooperation with Egypt and benefit from the Egyptian expertise in various fields. This is in light of Egypt’s prominent role in fostering joint Arab action mechanisms in the face of the current crises and challenges in the region, Al-Sudani said.

He hailed Egypt’s regional role in this regard and said the country is a role model for preserving stability and advancing development and economic and social conditions.

The Iraqi PM voiced appreciation for Egypt’s efforts to support Iraq on all levels.

El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s unwavering support for Iraq's security and stability as well as its appreciation for the strategic relations binding the two countries.

The president highlighted Egypt’s sturdy commitment to backing Iraq and providing full support to the Iraqi people on all levels, particularly in the areas of counterterrorism and consolidating security and stability.

The meeting was attended by Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, Chief of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel, and Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir.

Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein, Minister of Trade Atheer Dawood, and Iraqi Ambassador to Cairo Ahmed Al-Dulaimi also attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed a number of Arab and regional issues of mutual concern, and the two sides agreed on the importance of continuing intensified coordination to face the challenges in the region.

Activating MoUs within ‘2 months’

During their meeting, both Al-Sudani and the Egyptian PM agreed on assigning the relevant ministers in both governments to work over the coming two months on activating the MoUs signed by the two countries, the Egyptian Cabinet said.

Both officials agreed that this should coincide with thorough preparations for the meetings of the upcoming round of the Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee to ensure outcomes that meet the expectations that the people of both countries have for a prosperous future.

Efforts should be doubled over the coming two months to finalise the MoUs and agreements that would be signed during the joint committee meetings, Al-Sudani stressed.

Egypt and Iraq have intensified bilateral cooperation in recent years and have embarked on a number of joint development projects along with Jordan as part of their tripartite cooperation mechanism.

The three countries have signed many agreements to boost relations and implement joint projects, including the power linkage project between the three countries.

Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan and have held five summits since 2019, the last of which was at the Dead Sea in Jordan last December, to discuss implementing tripartite strategic projects.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq have also held a series of periodic meetings to strengthen their trilateral cooperation mechanisms.

Jordan has expressed plans to supply Iraq with electricity in 2023 after the required infrastructure is completed. Egypt, which is more than 800 miles from Iraq, also plans to deliver electricity to Iraq via Jordan by linking their power grids.

In addition, the three countries said they are also working on setting up an industrial city on the Iraqi-Jordanian border.

Also, Jordan and Iraq have been working to complete the required preparations for implementing an oil pipeline project linking the two countries. In June, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Egypt will also benefit from the project.

The leaders of the three countries have repeatedly affirmed the need for expediting the implementation of their joint projects and for removing obstacles facing them.

Power linkage, joint projects

On the project to link the three countries’ power grids, Madbouly said today that Egypt already has a power link with Jordan at a capacity of 550 MW and work is underway to boost the capacity of this power line in order for it to reach Iraq.

He noted that the power line linking Egypt and Jordan can be boosted to up to 2-3 GW.

The Iraqi premier said that the first phase of the trilateral power linkage project will be completed in June.

Al-Sudani also revealed consultations to establish a logistical zone on the Iraqi-Jordanian borders to contribute to securing goods and commodities.

He added that Egypt can benefit from this zone by providing Egyptian goods to the Iraqi markets.

Al-Sudani shed light on the great opportunities available for Egyptian companies to participate in the investment projects included in the Iraqi government’s budget.

Madbouly hailed the progress in the relations between Egypt and Iraq over the past years bilaterally and on the trilateral level with Jordan.

“We view this trilateral cooperation from a comprehensive strategic perspective in order to link our interests and maximise the joint advantages that would benefit all [sides],” Madbouly stated.

Al-Sudani arrived in Cairo early on Sunday for a one-day visit to discuss proposals of enhancing cooperation with Egypt at the bilateral level and trilaterally with Jordan.

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