No crisis with Nile Basin states: Morsi

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Apr 2013

Egyptian President Morsi and Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir affirm that cooperation between Egypt and Sudan is high on their respective agendas

TV snapshot of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi speaking during a press conference in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, Friday 5 April, 2013 (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has described relations with Nile Basin states as "friendly" during a joint press conference with Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir in Khartoum.

"Egypt's ties stumbled in the past, but now we are together, with possibilities of enhancing cooperation that satisfies the interests of all sides," Morsi told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to the neighbouring country.

"Mutual talks in this respect are currently ongoing, and we welcome the restoration of old relations with Africa," Morsi added.

Morsi denied the existence of border problems with Sudan, announcing that Egypt will host a tripartite summit between Egypt, Sudan, and Libya to discuss prospects of cooperation "in all domains."

"Egypt asserts its support for the stability and security of Sudan, pertaining to all issues, including the reconstruction of Darfur and settling current disagreements with South Sudan," Morsi added.

For his part, Al-Bashir expressed his respect for established geographical borders, but called for the right of movement, in terms of goods and people, between Egypt and Sudan.

"There is currently a plan to build a railroad, to overcome obstacles we inherited from the colonial era that deliberately worked to block any roads between both states," Egypt's state-run MENA news agency quoted Al-Bashir as saying.

Morsi's two-day visit is the first to Sudan since he was elected president in June 2012. He is holding talks with Al-Bashir along with business and political party leaders.

According to AFP, Morsi's office said the visit had "particular importance because it is the first of its kind since the president took office, and is aimed at underlining the special and strong strategic relationship between Egypt and Sudan."

Cairo is keen to establish "a real economic partnership with Sudan, to meet the ambitions and goals of growth and prosperity for both peoples," it added.

Morsi's visit would "complete some issues that have already been agreed" when the two leaders held talks in Cairo last September, Bashir's press secretary said.

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