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Egypt, Sudan agree water is 'a matter of national security'

The water file is of utmost importance to Egypt and Sudan, said El-Sisi and Dagalo during the Egyptian president's visit to Khartoum Saturday

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Mar 2021
El-Sisi and Dagalo
Vice President of Sudan's Sovereign Council Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (L) receives Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (photo: SUNA)
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The water issue is "a matter of national security" for the people of Egypt and Sudan, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Vice-President of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo agreed during a meeting in Khartoum, according to an official statement by the Egyptian presidency.

President El-Sisi embarked on a visit to Khartoum today during which he met with Dagalo and exchanged views regarding developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) file.

El-Sisi and Dagalo stressed the two countries' adherence to reach a legally binding deal on GERD that guarantees clear rules for the filling and operation of the GERD and achieves the common interests of all parties.

For almost a decade Egypt and Sudan, with the help of various sponsors, have engaged in on-off negotiations with Ethiopia over GERD without reaching an agreement.

Though the last round of GERD negotiations, mediated by South Africa, the former president of the African Union (AU), stalled in January with no agreement, Ethiopia has announced that it would start the second filling of the GERD next Summer, just as it did last summer during the first filling of the dam.

In a press conference held in Cairo on Tuesday, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart, Mariam Al-Saddiq Al-Mahdi, called on Ethiopia to show good will and resume talks over the GERD before the second filling of the dam.

Egypt supports a Sudanese suggestion, submitted to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the current chair of the African Union (AU), calling for an international mediation, involving a quartet committee comprising the UN, the AU, the EU and the US to reach a legally binding agreement with Ethiopia, Shoukry confirmed at the time.

Saturday's meeting between El-Sisi and Dagalo also witnessed a review of the latest developments in regional situations of common interest, including developments on the Sudanese-Ethiopian borders and a number of crises taking place in the region.

Egypt's presidential statement added that they agreed on the continuation of intense consultation and mutual coordination in this context during the coming period.

El-Sisi expressed his appreciation for the warm reception, hailing the strong and eternal fraternal relations between Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt's president arrived in Khartoum on Saturday noon and was received by Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan before meeting with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

El-Sisi welcomed the advanced level of relations between the two countries at various levels during the recent period, expressing Egypt's aspiration to deepen and strengthen it, especially at the security, military and economic levels, based on the close connection to the Egyptian and Sudanese national security, and the historical ties that unite the peoples of the Nile Valley.

Dagalo, the statement added, welcomed El-Sisi in Khartoum, expressing the deep appreciation that Sudan has for Egypt at the official and popular levels, and its pride in the extended ties that bring together the two brotherly countries.

Dagalo affirmed his country's keenness to benefit from Egypt's development efforts in all fields through the exchange of experiences, as well as strengthening mutual cooperation on the security and military levels, the statement noted.

This is the first time El-Sisi visits Sudan following the formation of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council in August 2019.

It comes against the backdrop of various high-level meetings between Egypt and Sudan that have been held in recent weeks.

Last week, Cairo and Khartoum signed a military cooperation agreement on the sidelines of the visit of Egypt's Army Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid to Sudan. Farid and his Sudanese counterpart stressed that the military cooperation agreement was set to strengthen cooperation in security issues and preserve the national security of both countries.

In November, Egypt and Sudan conducted Nile Eagles 1 Air force's drill for the first time, which took place in one of the Sudanese air bases and involved the Egyptian special forces Thunderbolt.

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