22 July 2018

Sudan: Govt, Egypt to Boost Economic Cooperation

Khartoum — Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al Sisi left Khartoum on Friday, after his first visit to Sudan since his recent election for a second term.

Al Sisi arrived on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by a high-level delegation that included the Egyptian ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Irrigation, the head of the General Intelligence, and other officials.

Following the official reception ceremony, the two presidents held a session of talks at the Presidential Office at Khartoum Airport, after which they proceeded to Republican Palace where maximisation of the economic cooperation was discussed, as well as many regional and international issues of common concern in "a joint summit", the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm reported on Friday.

Joint summits are set to discuss methods to enhance shared interests, through various joint mechanisms, including the Special Committee for Trade Promotion, the Higher Joint Technical Authority for the Nile Water, the Nile Valley Authority for River Navigation, the Consular Committee, the Military Committee, the Border Crossings' Committee, and consultations between the foreign ministers of the two countries, Egypt Independent added on its website.

Trade, projects

The joint Committee on Industry and Trade will convene in the next few months to discuss the increase of trade and investment projects and facilitating the work of businessmen in both countries.

The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Sudan is currently $1 billion.

The volume of direct and cumulative Egyptian investments in Sudan is $2.7 billion, distributed on the fields of industry, contracting, infrastructure, telecommunications, banks, pharmaceutical industry, and others.

Egypt is also implementing projects for land reclamation in Blue Nile State and a meat production project in White Nile State.

The most important exports of Sudan to Egypt consist of livestock, amounting to $450 million annually, and gum Arabic.

Tensions

The two presidents did not make mention of the soon-to-be-completed controversial Grand Renaissance Dam project at the source of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.

Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile required to provide water to the country's more than 100 million inhabitants. Khartoum has sided with Addis Ababa in the dispute.

Another point of contention is Khartoum's claim to the Egyptian-held border territory known as the Halayeb Triangle, a dispute that dates back to British colonial times.

Sudan's good relations with Turkey and Qatar, both considered regional rivals by Egypt, may have stoked further tensions.

"There is still a long way to go to advance relations to the desired level," Al Sisi said. He announced plans to visit Sudan again in October, WASH media reported.

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