Egyptian ministers in Equatorial Guinea in effort to restore A.U. membership
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy arrived in Equatorial Guinea - YOUM7/Suliman Eletifi
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy arrived in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday, leading a delegation of Egyptian ministers to discuss mutual relations.

“Mahlab will convey a message from President Adly Mansour to the Equatorial Guinean president,” Egypt’s State Information Service reported Thursday.

Egypt is currently trying to boost its ties with African countries in an attempt to reacquire its African Union membership, which was suspended following the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi. The delegation, currently in the Equatorial Guinean capital Malabo for the next two days, includes the ministers of housing, agriculture, petroleum and health.

“[Mahlab] said the implementation of the road map, which includes the approval of the constitution and the election of a president, enhances Egypt’s return to its role and place in the A.U.,” the SIS reported Wednesday.

African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Egypt could return to the union after the transitional roadmap was implemented, MENA reported April 10. She said Egypt’s important role in the region made its reinstatement “crucial.”

On Monday, Fahmy met with A.U.  Peace and Security Commissioner Ismael Sharqy to discuss Egypt’s suspended membership and its reinstatement should the roadmap be implemented and democratic progress achieved, the SIS website further stated. Former A.U. Secretary General Ahmed Haggag said on ONTV Thursday morning that Equatorial Guinea will likely favor Egypt’s return to the A.U.

Mahlab expects the issue of Egypt’s membership to be finalized during the A.U.’s upcoming session in June, which will be held in Malabo, MENA reported Thursday. It added that Equatorial Guinean First Vice President Ignacio Milam Tang welcomed Mahlab’s visit and insisted on strong ties between his country and Egypt.

The A.U. has officially declared its plan to send a mission to observe the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt. According to Youm7 Wednesday, the High Presidential Elections Commission invited the A.U.  Tuesday to monitor the elections in an attempt to solve the crisis of its suspended membership and Renaissance Dam conflict with Ethiopia.

“HPEC invited the A.U. to watch the situation closely and ensure the transparency of the electoral process and provide their own judgment. It has been agreed that 50 observers will take on the mission,” HPEC Secretary-General Abdel Aziz Salman told Youm7.

Additional reporting by Mahmoud Hussein.

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