CAIRO: Common interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia can amount to “economic integration” and should not be limited to water resources, a Thursday presidential statement said.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry Thursday ahead of the six-party meeting scheduled for Dec. 27-28 in Khartoum between the irrigation and foreign minister of the three African states.
“The population [of the three countries] combined exceeds 200 million, thus constitutes a promising market with huge potential in terms of natural resources, fertile land, labor force and technical expertise,” the parties stated.
Steps must be taken to build trust between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa per the Charter of Principles signed by the three capitals in March to enhance economic and social cooperation, they added.
The meeting emphasized a common understanding between the three countries to preserve the right of the Ethiopian people to development and the right of Egyptians to life, as the Nile River is the only source of water in Egypt, according to the statement.
The six-party committee met in Khartoum Dec.11-12, but Ethiopia asked for another meeting because the Egyptian questions and demands need “more studying and consultations,” Advisor to Irrigation Minister Alaa Yassin previously told Youm7.
Egyptian experts have cautioned that the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam at its planned design would be catastrophic, expecting the impact to desertify swathes of farmland, and salinize other arable areas, reduce the level of underground water, and affect the already declining share of drinking water per capita, among other adverse consequences.
Additional reporting by Asmaa Nassar