French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia reach an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that meets their interests, in a phone call on Sunday with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Macron voiced aspiration that the agreement be reached as soon as possible, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said.
Egypt and Sudan have been in a dispute with Ethiopia over the filling and operating of the massive dam on the Blue Nile.
Egypt and Sudan require that a binding agreement among the three countries be reached before Ethiopia completes the second filling of the dam. Ethiopia, however, reiterated its plans to fill the dam in July with or without an agreement.
During the phone call with Macron, El-Sisi stressed the utmost level of importance Egypt attaches to the GERD issue within the framework of defending the country’s historic water rights, Rady said.
El-Sisi highlighted the need for the three concerned countries to reach a comprehensive, binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
The two presidents also discussed regional issues of mutual concern and mutual efforts against terrorism, according to Rady. They also reviewed bilateral relations and Egyptian-French cooperation.
Macron hailed Egypt’s vital role in settling the Libyan crisis, as well as the efforts made by El-Sisi in this regard. The French president said El-Sisi’s efforts have paved the way to a political solution to the Libyan issue.
Macron affirmed France’s keenness to continue intensified cooperation and coordination with Egypt in terms of the Libyan issue, Rady added.
El-Sisi underscored the need to expel mercenaries from Libya and to undermine any illegal foreign interference in Libyan affairs in order to help conduct the Libyan general elections in December.
El-Sisi warned that foreign interference in Libya contributes to fueling the crisis.
Egypt has voiced support for the formation of a new executive authority in Libya selected in the UN-sponsored talks in February and affirmed his keenness to cooperate with the new officials.
The presidents, during the phone call, agreed on the need to intensify mutual efforts to counter terrorism in the African Sahel region. This comes in light of their keenness to help the region’s countries restore their security and stability and to develop, Rady said.
Macron also stressed France’s appreciation of the extended and firm relations with Egypt and expressed keenness to enhance these ties.
The French president hailed Egypt’s political influence on the regional level, saying it positively reflects on the mutual cooperation between Egypt and France to reach political settlements for the crises in the region.
El-Sisi also voiced Egypt’s eagerness to boost cooperation with France, especially in the fields of economy, investment, development, security, and the military.
The talks between the two presidents also addressed the activities of French companies operating in developmental projects in Egypt.
El-Sisi held a meeting last week with chairman of French train manufacturer Alstom Henri Poupart-Lafarge to discuss boosting the company’s activities in Egypt.
Earlier in March, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications signed an MoU with the French company Thales to cooperate in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered applications in various fields.