CAIRO: “Sisi’s participation in the African Summit in Addis Ababa is essential, especially after a long absence made them suspect our African loyalty,” political science professor at Cairo University Ayman Shabana told The Cairo Post Thursday.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi arrived to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Thursday to participate in the 24th round of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit, slated to kick off Friday under the theme, “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development toward Africa’s Agenda 2063,” Youm7 reported.
Sisi’s participation in the African summit is the second since his inauguration as president in June 2014. He headed to Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014, where he participated in the 23rd Summit with high-level delegations from African countries. The visit came about one year after Egypt’s membership in the AU was suspended following the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Shabana told The Cairo Post that Sisi’s participation follows “a long absence” of the Egyptian representation in any of the African summits since the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.
He added that Egypt’s relations with African countries are based on “fateful interests” including the Nile River. “To maintain these interests and relations, Sisi headed to attend the African summits to make it permanent participation during the coming period,” said Shabana.
He explained that Mubarak’s biggest strategic mistake was withdrawing from the African continent, forgetting about the major role we played during the past period. “It cost us a lot later,” he added.
Sisi is scheduled to meet with several officials in the Ethiopian government and other African leaders including, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Philip VI of Spain, who asked for a bilateral meeting with President Sisi according to Youm7.
Mohamed Edris, the Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia announced during a meeting with the journalists in Addis Ababa Wednesday night that Sisi will visit Ethiopia again within the coming two months in order to discuss a number of the common topics with joint interests.
On Saturday, an Egyptian high-level delegation traveled to Addis Ababa as part of the preparations before Sisi’s visit.
“Our absence in their summits have been there newspapers’ headline for long time, they doubted Egypt’ loyalty as African country. Mubarak’s regime continuous ignorance sparked their reservations,” Shabana said.