Ethiopian PM Desalegn arrives in Cairo for talks with Egypt's Sisi on dam; FM Shoukry expresses hope

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Jan 2018

On the eve of the summit, Egypt's FM Shoukry expressed optimism there is 'political will of both countries to overcome any obstacles that may hinder the promising prospects of bilateral relations'

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Reuters

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for a two-day visit to discuss bilateral cooperation and Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi , according to Egypt's foreign ministry said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu held talks earlier in the day ahead of the talks between El-Sisi and Desalegn Thursday..

The two FMs discussed he dam project, boosting trade and investment between the two countries, as well as other regional issues.

The ministerial-level discussions are part of the sixth meeting of a joint high-level cooperation committee between the two countries.

The last meeting of the committee was held three years ago in Addis Ababa.

The meeting between El-Sisi and Desalegn comes as Egypt continues to express concerns over the stalling in negotiations between the two countries over the impact of the construction of the Renaissance dam on its Nile water share.

Shoukry expresses hope

Shoukry said in his address to the closing session of the ministerial talks that the convening of the committee meeting reflects "the political will of both countries to overcome any obstacles that may hinder the promising prospects of bilateral relations."

"Egyptians and Ethiopians have enjoyed longstanding historical relations for millennia. Our countries established diplomatic relations as early as 1927, to mark one of the oldest diplomatic ties within Africa," Shoukry said.

"I’m sure we are all keen to exert our utmost efforts to sustain and further develop our historical relations, and realise their full potential."

Shoukry reiterated Egypt's commitment to the full implementation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to resolve disagreements in the negotiations over the dam.

Shoukry said that upon full implementation, the agreement will serve as "a successful model of cooperation in the Nile Basin."

Shoukry also said that Egypt is keen on developing economic and trade relations with Ethiopia.

"I’m glad that the outcomes of our deliberations furnish a modus operandi for steering joint successful cooperation in the fields of agriculture, trade, investment, mining, health, industry, culture and education."

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