Sisi departs Algeria for AU summit in Malabo
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Algeria - Presidential Office

CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has departed Algeria, and is en route to Equatorial Guinea to attend a summit of the African Union, state-owned MENA reported Wednesday.

In his first foreign visit since his June 8 inauguration, Sisi met Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika as well as the head of the Algerian National Assembly, Abdul Qadir bin Saleh, and AlgerianPrime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

Sisi said in press statement upon his arrival that his visit to Algeria aimed to launch “real understanding and common vision for the common interests, issues and challenges between Egypt and Algeria.”

The African Union summit is scheduled to open Thursday, to discuss agriculture and food security.

The summit is Egypt’s first to attend since its membership was restored June 17, after a nearly year-long suspension that followed the military ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

The AU announced June 19 that Sisi would deliver a speech in the opening session of the summit.

“In keeping with tradition, the newly elected Presidents of Malawi, H.E. Peter Mutharika; H.E. Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau and H.E. AbdelFatah al-Sisi of Egypt will be welcomed by the Assembly and will address the opening session on 26 June 2014,” read the statement.

Furthermore it added the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Spain’s Prime Minister Maraiano Rojy Brey, along other invited guests will attend the opening session.

The Egyptian ambassador to Equatorial Guinea Mohamed Kazem said in press statements today that since the announcement of Sisi’s participation in the summit Equatorial Guinean officials expressed their welcome; he added that Egyptian investments in Guinea are estimated at 2 billion dollars.

Sisi is reportedly scheduled to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on the sidelines of the summit; Sisi was invited to visit Ethiopia following his election but the presidency has yet to confirm a response.

The relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have worsened over Ethiopia’s construction of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which many Egyptian politicians and experts say would result in a significant reduction in Egypt’s water share of the river; Ethiopia claims that the power generated by the dam is essential to its development, and the issue has created a political impasse for the two nations.

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