Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has met with the Foreign Minister of Algeria Ramtane Lamamra to discuss a range of topics of mutual interest.
These included ways to enhance bilateral relations, the latest developments in Libya, and the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
During their meeting on Saturday evening in Cairo, the two ministers exchanged views on the regional situation.
Discussions also touched on the need for concerted efforts in giving priority to peaceful solutions on Arab issues. These should take place in a way that preserve the unity of Arab countries and the independence of their territories.
Shoukry expressed his aspiration to continue the pace of coordination and consultation between the two countries, and to push forward bilateral relations in their various frameworks.
This will take place in a manner that serves the interests of the two countries and meets the aspirations of their brotherly peoples.
The minister affirmed Egypt’s keenness to complete negotiations on the controversial Ethiopian dam, to reach a fair and binding legal agreement that meets the aspirations of all countries in development.
He stressed Egypt’s constants in preserving its water rights, and achieving benefits for all in any agreement on the GERD.
Shoukry referred to Egypt and Sudan’s request for the participation of international parties led by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in which the US, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN) would also participate.
This is with the aim of effectively supporting the negotiation methodology between the three countries. It would also maximise its chances of success, especially with the negotiations reaching a stage of stagnation as a result of Ethiopian intransigence.
For his part, Lamamra affirmed that Algeria seeks to address the GERD crisis with a positive push, to provide the will and confidence of the parties to open up prospects for negotiation.
He said he undertook a tour of Africa, that included Ethiopia and Sudan, to explore opportunities to advance a peaceful solution to the issue.
Lamamra also said that Algeria is balanced regarding its stance on international issues. He said that his country seeks to reduce the differences in Africa, by aligning members in favour of the goals and interests of the African Union (AU), and to help them face economic challenges in particular.
Diplomatic sources revealed that Lamamra’s current visit to Egypt comes as part of an Algerian initiative to bridge the views between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia regarding GERD.
Lamamra visited Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Thursday, during which he met with: the country’s President Sahle-Work Zewde; Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed; in addition to the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen.
Lamamra held talks with Mekonnen that focused on the current developments in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, in addition to the GERD file, and Ethiopian-Algerian bilateral relations.
Ethiopia called on Algeria to play a constructive role in “correcting misperceptions” the Arab League might have regarding the GERD, and stressed “Ethiopia’s intentions in the fair and equitable use” of the Nile waters.
Mekonnen also expressed Ethiopia’s firm commitment to resuming tripartite negotiations on the GERD, under the AU’s auspices.
During Lamamra’s visit to Sudan, on Friday, and his meeting with his Sudanese counterpart Maryam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the latter confirmed that Khartoum is seeking a diplomatic solution to the GERD crisis.
Al-Mahdi stressed Sudan’s firm position, which is the need for a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the GERD. The minister indicated that Sudan is concerned about the situation in Ethiopia and is keen on stability there.
She expressed her hope that Ethiopia would return to its senses in dealing with the Sudanese position with responsibility.