President Mohamed Morsi discussed on Saturday with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn bilateral relations between Egypt and Ethiopia, in addition to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, currently under construction.
The meeting took place at the headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, as part of Morsi’s visit to Ethiopia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the AU, where he was received by the Ethiopian Mining Minister Sinkinesh Ejigu.
Amid controversy that the Ethiopian damn being built will alter Egypt’s share of the Nile water, Prime Minister Desalegn asserted his country’s dedication on maintaining the interests of Egypt and Sudan, reported state-run MENA. Desalegn stressed that the dam won’t affect the water shares or interests of the two countries, according to Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Bahaa Al-Din.
Bahaa Al-Din added that a tripartite committee, comprised of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian experts, is currently studying the expected outcomes of the dam and its affect on Egypt and Sudan as countries downstream the Nile River.
The meeting followed a speech delivered by Morsi, as part of the 29th round of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), held at the AU headquarters.
“NEPAD has laid the ground for a comprehensive African framework to achieve political, economic, and social development in Africa, which achieved significant progress and economic growth rates that exceeded 5% yearly in many countries, despite all the challenges it faces,” said Morsi.
Morsi praised NEPAD’s role in agriculture and infrastructure, highlighting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), and asserting that they represent a “push forward” for mutual cooperation, MENA reported.
Morsi also praised an initiative launched by South African President Jacob Zuma to develop infrastructure programmes in Africa, adding that Egypt was keen to join the initiative and adopt several projects aiming to develop river transport between African countries within the initiative’s framework.
“Despite the progress NEPAD achieved, we are still facing difficulties in providing the necessary funds for large projects, and accordingly we should adopt the notion of African ownership, rely on our capabilities, and stick to our independent political will in order to meet the aspirations of our people,” said Morsi.
Morsi added that African countries should revise their policies and adopt new policies enhancing their future cooperation while focusing on African interests. He also called for more inter-state cooperation between South African countries and benefitting from the successful development models in Asia and Latin America, MENA reported.
The president affirmed that Egypt is keen to exert all efforts to serve the mutual African goals, enhance cooperation, and achieve regional integration. “We are confident of our ability to reach our aims of security, peace, development, and prosperity.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr met with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Kenya, according to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.
The negotiations highlighted the bilateral relations between Egypt and each country and the prospects of its enhancements. Additionally, Amr discussed the Nile Basin issue and the relations between Sudan and South Sudan with the Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karty, according to the statement.