Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed with Ethiopian counterpart routes for the two countries to move towards higher level political dialogue, during Shoukry’s stop in Ethiopia Thursday.
Egypt considers its ties with Ethiopia a “key component” of its foreign policy, reflecting the priority Egypt attaches to ties with its Ethiopian and African brothers. State-run MENA cited Showery’s comments during a joint press conference in Ethiopia.
He added that Egypt’s desire is that these ties meet the expectations of both the Egyptian and Ethiopian people.
Shoukry and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom discussed preparations for the joint committee, which will convene soon.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met in June on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Malabo. The two countries later announced their decision to form a joint committee within three months to streamline discussions on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), currently under construction.
Egypt and Ethiopia have been locked in a diplomatic dispute over GERD, since Egypt fears the dam will affect its share of Nile water. Downstream countries Egypt and Sudan together receive the majority of Nile water. Following the Malabo talks, the two countries agreed on seven steps for the continuing construction of the dam.
Shoukry said we look forward to many opportunities for meetings of the presidents and government officials.
He added that current talks between the two countries on cooperation and strengthening ties come from the spirit of the Malabo talks, which created the grounds for a new stage of mutual understanding and respect.
Shoukry arrived in Ethiopia on Thursday, after concluding his tour to Europe on Wednesday. He stressed the importance of his visit to Ethiopia to maintain the high level dialogue between the two countries.
Shoukryexpressed relief at the results of the tripartite talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in August. He said the talks allowed all parties to show the levels of trust built under principles agreed on in Malabo. The talks between the trio, were described as “honest consultations” and ended with agreements.
Shoukry’s trip to Ethiopia comes one day after his visit to Rome, the last stop on his tour in Europe. He met with Italian counterpart Federica Mogherin and other top Italian officials.
He congratulated Mogherin for her appointment as European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement that Shoukry stressed the importance of the close ties between Egypt and Italy, adding that Italy is Egypt’s first trade partner.
Shoukry discussed several regional issues with Italian officials, including terrorism. They stressed the importance of joint coordination to combat “the forces of extremism and terrorism that threaten the [Middle East] region and Europe.”
In his previous stop on the tour, Shoukry called for a “collective” approach battling the “barbaric” Islamic State (ISIS) which has forcefully taken large swaths of Iraq and Syria, while talking to reporters in France.
Speaking in Germany, Shoukry urged Europe to join Egypt in fighting terrorism.