Egypt and Djibouti reiterated the importance of reaching a legal and balanced deal between Cairo, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a way that protects the interests of the parties involved and preserves regional stability.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his Djiboutian counterpart Ismaïl Omar Guelleh emphasised in a meeting in the Djiboutian capital on Thursday that the negotiating parties should display goodwill and have the political will necessary to reach a legally binding agreement.
Negotiations on GERD have been on hold since January, with tensions running high as Addis Ababa plans to go ahead with the second filling of the controversial dam unilaterally whether a deal is reached with Cairo and Khartoum or not.
Sisi told his Djiboutian counterpart that Egypt refuses any endeavour to impose fait accomoli policy through unilateral measures that don't take into account the interests of the downstream countries.
Guelleh lauded Egypt's latest efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza between Palestinian factions and Israel to end the 11-day bombing of the besieged enclave.
Egypt's involvement in de-escalation efforts stems from the country's historical responsibility towards the Palestinian cause, said President El-Sisi, who arrived in the East African country earlier on Thursday.
Both presidents reiterated the necessity of engaging in a political settlement path to reach a fair, comprehensive, and lasting solution for the decades-old issue based on international references, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.
A simultaneous and mutual Egypt-brokered ceasefire was announced on Friday, stopping 11 days of fighting that has been deemed the most vicious since the 2014 Israeli 51-day assault on Gaza, as Israel upped aggression on the Strip with artillery and air strikes.
The Israeli offensive on Gaza killed some 253 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, and destroyed hundreds of homes.
The death toll in Israel from rockets fired by Palestinian factions in the Strip stood at 13.
Egypt has allocated $500 million for rebuilding Gaza by Egyptian construction companies.
Horn of Africa challenges
El-Sisi and Guelleh exchanged views on a host of regional issues, including those in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, the spokesman added.
"The discussions reflected a mutual understanding between the two sides about means to resolve these issues," the statement added.
El-Sisi and Guelleh reiterated the importance of the bilateral strategic partnership to fight terrorism and organised crime in the Horn of Africa, in addition to cooperation on the security of the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait.
The spokesman added that El-Sisi praised Guelleh's efforts in achieving economic development, security, and stability in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.
El-Sisi reiterated Egypt's keenness to enhance support directed to development efforts in Djibouti, saying there are "wide prospects" to promote economic cooperation and trade exchange between the two African nations and reinforce cooperation in combating extremist ideology.
Cooperation could also extend to transferring Egyptian expertise to Djibouti as well as providing technical support and capacity-building programmes for Djiboutian cadres, El-Sisi told Guelleh.
Guelleh hailed Cairo's "sincere" efforts to support economic reform and development paths in Djibouti, Rady pointed out.
The Djiboutian president praised the Egyptian private sector’s contribution to the economic development process in Africa, expressing his aspiration to increase the participation of the Egyptian private sector in Djibouti.
He also said that Egypt plays a pivotal role in shoring up stability in Africa.