Several issues on Sisi's agenda at UN General Assembly

Ahram Online, Friday 19 Sep 2014

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is expected to tackle a number of issues at the UN General Assembly next week

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Egypt's President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will head to New York on Sunday for the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, where he is scheduled to give a speech.

In his five-day visit El-Sisi is expected to meet with a number of officials, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for discussions on the latter's Nile dam projects, which Egypt fears will affect its water supply.

El-Sisi, who heads the Egyptian delegation at the general assembly for the first time, is also expected to sit with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss regional developments, as Arab states collaborate against extremist militant threats.

El-Sisi will also address the UN climate summit on 23 September before giving his full address on 25 September, Al-Ahram Arabic reported on Friday.

During his meetings El-Sisi will discuss Egypt's efforts to attract investment to support the economy and fund major projects such as the Suez Canal expansion and the development of the electricity sector.

Egypt’s new president will not sit with US President Barack Obama during his time in the US but will instead meet several American politicians for talks on issues including terrorism, Egyptian-US relations and Egypt's ties with Russia.

In addition, El-Sisi is expected to meet with Egyptian expats from New York and nearby states.

Egypt-Ethiopia meetings

With Ethiopia currently constructing a new dam on the Blue Nile, El-Sisi will meet Desalegn to discuss its effect on Egypt.

The dam has caused controversy in Egypt recently; Egyptian officials and experts have warned that it could have a negative effect on the Nile water that reaches Egypt, which lies downstream of the dam.

Relations between the countries have come under strain in the face of the dispute, but recent diplomatic efforts have been made to tackle the issue.

Last month, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia's irrigation ministers signed an agreement to conduct two studies to gauge the effects of the Grand Renaissance Dam on downstream countries.

Egypt's Irrigation Minister Hossam El-Moghazi heads an Egyptian delegation participating in a meeting with ministers of irrigation from Sudan and Ethiopia on Saturday in Addis Ababa.

El-Sisi is also expected to visit Addis Ababa before the end of the year.

Regional efforts

Several US and European officials have visited Egypt recently amid continuing regional talks to confront the Islamic State (IS) -- a militant group that has overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and UK Middle East advisor at the defence ministry General Simon Mayall have all made visits to Cairo for meetings on the topic.

On 11 September, Egypt – along with nine other Arab states – agreed to join Washington in the fight against IS in an effort to build an international coalition.

Participation will include joining any coordinated military campaigns as appropriate.

El-Sisi is expected to discuss Egypt's role in these regional developments with a number of officials on the sidelines of the general assembly session.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will accompany El-Sisi on his US trip, will attend a number of meetings, including a Security Council session on Iraq. 

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