Egyptian, Sudanese FMs Affirm Deeply-Rooted Ties Between Both Countries

Egyptian Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and his visiting Sudanese counterpart Mariam al Sadeq al Mahdi stressed the deeply-rooted cooperation between both countries in various fields.

The ministers made the remarks during a joint press conference held on Tuesday 2/3/2021 at the conclusion of their talks here.

Shoukry said his Sudanese counterpart conferred earlier in the day with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as part of her first visit to Cairo since assuming her new post.

Shoukry said an expanded session of talks was held in the presence of both countries' delegations, focusing on the common destiny.

Talks also touched on means to push forward relations between both countries, Shoukry added.

Both sides have a strong political determination to work at various levels as per directives of political leaderships in the two countries, according to Shoukry.

All bilateral, regional and international issues, including the Ethiopian dam file, were discussed in depth, Shoukry said.

In today's joint press conference, the foreign minister said his talks with his Sudanese counterpart touched on the Ethiopian dam file, and means to move forward to reach a just and fair agreement ensuring the interests of the three countries in a balanced way.

Shoukry added that efforts will continue to push for a deal, outline a framework of cooperation and understanding and avoid tension and confrontation.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese foreign minister said she had a meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, hailing the president's vision on the importance of Cairo-Khartoum relations and the necessity of pushing them forward.

During her meeting with President Sisi, the Sudanese minister pointed out to her country's moves after the revolution and the signing of the Peace Agreement to achieve economic development, noting that Sudan is keen to benefit from the Egyptian powerful economic experience.

She went on to say Sudan braces for Paris conference which will help the country explore open relations with the world countries, mainly at the economic level, expressing hope that Cairo would support Khartoum as it always do at all forums.

Mahdi said her talks with Shoukry touched on the latest developments related to the Ethiopian dam, noting that the stalemate in negotiations posed many threats to Egypt and Sudan.

An agreement was reached during today's talks on the necessity of accelerating a major African diplomatic action to help resume negotiations and reach an agreement guaranteeing Ethiopia's development, as well as preserving the interests of the Egyptian and and Sudanese peoples, she added.

The Sudanese foreign minister described the situation on Sudan's borders and Gadarif State as "accelerating," pointing out to her country's border demarcation treaty signed in 1902.

The border issue could be resolved via diplomatic and legal ways but a great threat would be posed if the Ethiopian bodies continued filling the GERD in the way it announced earlier, she warned.

In response to a question about relations between Egypt and Sudan, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that the relations between the two countries were based on dialogue.

He went on to say that the two sides totally agreed that both countries have a responsibility to activate all the existing mechanisms that would in turn strengthen their ties in the political, economic and cultural fields.

Shoukry added that Egypt and Sudan have a wide scope for joint action, legal frameworks and political will, stressing the necessity of taking advantage of the capabilities that they have in accordance with the priorities agreed upon and to present and translate positive political statements into actions and concrete results that their citizens could feel and truly benefit from.

Shoukry further underlined that the economic framework is an important element in bilateral ties, stressing the necessity of pushing forward Egyptian-Sudanese relations that will in turn serve the interests of the citizens of both countries.

There is a vast range of areas of bilateral cooperation, including the agriculture and livestock ones, Shoukry noted, underlining the possibility of benefiting from integration between the two countries to become a major pillar of their relations.

Shoukry also stressed the importance of political consultation, coordination and consensus between the two countries within the Arab and African frameworks and towards issues related to security and stability in East Africa.

"Both sides have a unified vision on how to achieve stability in our direct geographical location and neighbourhood and work with our brothers to promote relations, cooperation and stability," Shoukry said.

If there is no stability, then it is difficult to cross the stages that we must pass through within the framework of development and sustained efforts exerted in this regard, he added.

He explained that consultation, coordination and political integration are necessary and important, and "there is an understanding and a common interest that always drives us to have this level of engagement in dialogue and a common vision".

Shifting to the issue of Ethiopia's controversial dam on the Nile, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and Shoukry said Egypt and Sudan have a common vision, by virtue of which they are two downstream countries that are involved in clinching an agreement in good faith that takes into consideration the interests of the three Nile basin countries.

He said "we are now at a very important stage after extensive rounds of talks".

He urged all parties to take into account the impact of the current stage not only on the negotiation process, but also on the interests of citizens of both Egypt and Sudan and the grave risks that may result from continuing to pursue unilateral measures and actions without reaching an agreement.

He cautioned that any actions to impose the current status quo deviate from the framework of positive political relations and are considered an abusive measure that goes outside the usual scope of the need to solve problems and reach an understanding through a legally binding and just agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries and defuses any tension or further escalation in connection with this issue.

Shoukry also expressed regret for the failure of the last round of GERD negotiations that was sponsored by the Presidency of the African Union (AU).

The Sudanese side presented a vision to resume negotiations under the auspices of an international quartet that supports efforts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is currently holding the AU presidency, Shoukry said.

The Congolese president fully assumes this responsibility and realizes its importance in achieving stability in the African continent and reaching appropriate solutions that take into account the interests of the three countries, he stressed.

He made it clear that Egypt supports this vision and holds contacts with different parties to urge them to take the initiative to engage in dialogue, adding there are parties, like the United States which is involved as an observer with the European Union in the negotiations.

The top diplomat commended the United Nations and the African Union for joining the talks to seek a solution to the problem, he added.

Shoukry stressed the important role that this quartet can play by proposing solutions to some points of disagreement as well as acting as a witness to and an evaluator of the stances taken by the parties.

Egypt has always shown its willingness and political will when it signed the Washington agreement, which includes all the necessary points to legally address this GERD issue, Shoukry said.

He made it clear that there will be no endless negotiations or negotiations that will take place with one party that continues to take unilateral measures, saying "this will be absurd and lead to nothing".

He went on to say that imposing one party's will on the other two parties and exposing their peoples to risks are attitudes that are entirely rejected.

Egypt will do everything necessary out of its responsibility to protect its people and their interests, he noted.

For her part, the Sudanese foreign minister said talks at the individual and collective levels have enhanced Egyptian-Sudanese relations, adding that there are a large number of agreements and mechanisms that the two sides have begun to activate.

She further underlined that the coming days will witness President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's visit to Sudan.

Also Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok is set to visit Cairo, a matter that will help "activate these existing mechanisms, which will certainly serve our peoples' interests," she concluded.

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