Monday, July 14, 2014

Economic cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia on the rise

Walaa Hussein in al-Monitor: Cairo is working on resuming the Ethiopian-Egyptian activities that were suspended on all levels. This comes in tandem with the preparations for the expected visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Ethiopia, and as part of the restoration of dialogue aiming to settle the dispute between the countries over the Renaissance Dam under construction on the Blue Nile. The dialogue was re-opened following the meeting that was held between the Ethiopian prime minister and Sisi on the sidelines of the last African Summit held in Equatorial Guinea

Ambassador Salah Abdel Sadek, chairman of Egypt’s State Information Service, said in an interview with Al-Monitor, “A call has been made to activate the activities of the Egyptian-Ethiopian committee, provided that its meetings will be resumed to look into ways to support relations between both countries, and reinforce cooperation on the scientific, cultural, agricultural, irrigation, educational, tourism, communication, meat industry [and] industrial zones levels.”

In 2006, the Egyptian-Ethiopian committee was formed, presided over by the foreign ministers of both countries, and its respective agreement was drafted. As tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia in the negotiations over the Nile waters flared, the work of the committee came to a halt. Its last meeting was held in 2011 on the sidelines of the visit of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to Egypt, following the January 25 Revolution.

After the suspension of this committee’s work, Zenawi decided to form a tripartite Egyptian-Ethiopian-Sudanese committee to solve the issue of the dam and bring into view the damages inflicted on the two downstream countries. The meetings of the committee, however, were not completed and its activities were suspended as the relations between Egypt and Ethiopia became tense again when the dialogue over the crisis of the dam was hindered, as related to Al-Monitor by an official in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

The same source said, “The president’s visit that is being planned will not only involve Addis Ababa, but also a number of the Nile Basin countries, as the president wishes to re-open dialogue with upstream countries over the mechanism of the just use of the Nile water in such a way that does not harm any other country.”...

Aerial view of the Blue Nile leaving Lake Tana. Image released into the public domain by ZeGhion

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