Egyptian, Ethiopian FMs Hold Press Conference

Egypt and Ethiopia reiterated their commitment to the principles of mutual respect and achieving common interests.

In a joint statement by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the talks the two had on Thursday in Malabo, the two sides agreed to immediately start preparations for the convention of a two-way commission within three months.

The statement, read by the foreign ministers of the two countries, revealed a decision to form a higher committee concerned with bilateral and regional relations in the political, economic, social, and security domains.

The Egyptian and Ethiopian sides underlined the importance of the Nile River as a basic source for the Egyptian existence and their understanding of Ethiopia’s development needs.

Regarding water uses, Egypt and Ethiopia agreed on the following:

1- Respecting the principles of dialogue and cooperation as a foundation for mutual interests.

2- Giving priority to establishing regional projects to develop financial resources to meet the growing demand on water and face water shortages.

3- Respecting international law principles.

4- Resuming immediately the activities of the tripartite committee on the Grand Renaissance Dam to enforce recommendations of the international expert committee and respecting the results of studies to be conducted during the dam project’s different phases.

5- The Ethiopian government commits to avoiding any possible harm the dam could inflict on Egypt’s water usage.

6- The Egyptian government commits to constructive dialogue with Ethiopia that takes into consideration the latter’s development needs.

7- Committing to act in good faith under the framework of the tripartite committee.

The two countries agreed to start applying this joint statement forthwith.

During the joint press conference, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri said President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had frank and constructive talks with the Ethiopian prime minister on Thursday and discussed Nile-related issues.

A new chapter in Egyptian-Ethiopian relations pivoted on honesty and mutual understanding has started, Shokri said during the event held jointly with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Responding to a question by MENA on the message the statement is sending to the Egyptian public opinion, the foreign minister said the statement was an important development in Egypt-Ethiopia relations and lays the foundations of a new chapter.

Asked about the fifth point in the joint statement on how the Ethiopian government will avoid jeopardizing Egypt’s water usage, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Grand Renaissance Dam was technically well-designed to avoid any future problems.

There is also the three-way dialogue that will be forged under the proposed recommendations, he said.

Should any bad effects from the dam emerge, the two countries will discuss them as agreed, he said.

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