This past week was full of Egyptian consultations on Ethiopia’s Nile dam and efforts to cement ties with fellow African states.
President Abdel Fattah el Sisi started his weekly activities with a visit to Khartoum on Saturday, where he met Sudanese officials, including the head of the country’s Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
The Egyptian leader called for a legally-binding agreement to regulate the operation of the dam and the filling of its reservoir, before Ethiopia starts the second filling of the reservoir in June.
He backed a Sudanese proposal for the formation of an international panel of mediators from the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and the African Union to oversee negotiations on the dam and help Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia reach a deal.
However, the dam issue was only part of talks between President Sisi and Sudanese officials. Discussions also covered cooperation between Cairo and Khartoum in all fields as well as on Egypt’s readiness to support Sudan in the fields of economy, trade and investment.
The same issues were at centre of talks between President Sisi and Prime Minister Hamdok on Thursday in Cairo, where the Sudanese premier arrived for further deliberations with Egyptian officials.
The president and the Sudanese premier discussed developments on the Ethiopian dam as well as ways to boost bilateral cooperation.
They also exchanged views on regional issues in the Horn of Africa and the Nile Basin as well as on border disputes between Sudan and Ethiopia, the Egyptian Presidency said. President Sisi and Prime Minister Hamdok agreed to intensify talks with regional and international parties to support the Sudanese proposal for the formation of the abovementioned quartet committee to mediate between Ethiopia and downstream states.
On Tuesday, President Sisi addressed army officers and the families of martyrs in a seminar, marking Martyr Day.
The president talked about a wide range of issues, including Egypt’s economy and the megaprojects being implemented nationwide. He said the inauguration of the New Administrative Capital and the relocation of the government there would be tantamount to the declaration of a new republic.
He said state authorities had to delay the inauguration of the new capital and other new cities for a year due to the pandemic.
The president said the sacrifices made by martyrs and the wounded in the national fight against terrorism makes it necessary for Egyptians to protect the achievements made by their country so far.
He added that Egypt has paid dearly in the fight against terrorism.
On Thursday, President Sisi held talks by phone with President of the Republic of Congo Félix Antoine Tshisekedi on bilateral relations.
President Sisi said Egypt is keen to enhance coordination with the DRC on regional issues of common interest, especially in light of its presidency of the African Union in 2021.
The Ethiopian dam also featured in the talks between President Sisi and President Tshisekedi.
The Congolese leader praised Egypt’s efforts to reach a balanced solution to the dam crisis to serve the interests of all sides.
President Sisi reiterated Egypt’s firm stance on the need to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam before the next rainy season to safeguard the rights of downstream states and maintain regional stability.