Ministers discuss impact of Sisi meeting with Ethiopian PM
The Grand Renaissance dam - REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

CAIRO: The Supreme Committee for Nile Water Sunday discussed the results of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the African Union’s 23rd Ordinary Summit in late June, Youm7 reported.

The AU summit was held in Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo. It came a few days after Egypt’s membership in the AU was restored June 17 after it was suspended following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab headed the meeting of the Supreme Committee for Nile Water with the attendance of the ministers of planning, electricity, foreign affairs, irrigation, international cooperation, transportation and agriculture.

During the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that Sisi’s meeting with the Ethiopian prime minister ensured a guarantee that Egypt’s water rights will not be violated, as well as supported Ethiopian rights in development. He added that during the meeting, it was also agreed to continue negotiations of the tripartite committee between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Shoukry said the meeting was important in order to support bilateral cooperative relations between the two countries in all fields, especially in water cooperation.

Other ministers who attended the Cabinet’s meeting also shared their own suggestions and insights into the current water crisis.

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt became strained after Ethiopia started constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which many Egyptian politicians and experts say could result in significant reduction in Egypt’s Nile water flow. 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.

During the summit, Sisi said Egypt’s relations with the African continent are not only based on geography and history, but also on mutual identity, future and fate.

Poverty and disease are common challenges among African countries amid political turmoil hindering their development plans, Sisi said.

He also added Africa is threatened by cross-border terrorist and Jihadist groups, and that the leaders of African countries should unite to “preserve the dignity of our people and economies.”

Sisi was invited to visit Ethiopia following his election, but the presidency has yet to confirm a response.

 Additional Reporting by: Hend Mokhtar

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