Home | News    Monday 28 March 2011

Egypt vows to open a "new page" with Sudan


March 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said that his country wants to "open a new page" in its relations with Sudan as he embarked on his first trip abroad since his appointment earlier this month.

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Sudan’s Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha (L) welcomes Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf upon his arrival at Khartoum’s airport on March 27, 2011 as he begins his first foreign trip since being appointed by the army following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak (AFP)

A popular uprising that started in late January ended up toppling the 30-years old rule of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. A supreme military council led by former defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi took control of the country afterwards. They appointed former transport minister Sharaf to form the new government.

Sharaf arrived in Khartoum on Sunday in a high-profile visit and leading a delegation that includes ministers of foreign affairs, irrigation and international cooperation.

He was received at the airport by 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha and later met with president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Hundreds of Sudanese and Egyptian expatriates lined up on the Nile street in Khartoum to welcome the visiting delegation holding banners saying "Welcome young leader of the revolution".

Sharaf told reporters that he is humbled by the "warmth of the reception" which he jokingly said exceeded the hot weather of the Sudanese capital.

He added that the feelings his delegation encountered will mean that they will not let down the people of the Nile Valley.

"Today we were negotiating [with Sudan] as one delegation and not two delegations," Sharaf said.

The Egyptian delegation told Sudanese officials that they are willing to tackle all issues that have historically impacted the relations between the two countries such as the dispute over the border region of Halayeb.

Bashir told Sharaf that there is nothing that prevents the creation of beneficial partnerships in different areas.

The High-Level ministerial Committee between Egypt and Sudan held a meeting under the chairmanship of Vice President Taha and the Egyptian PM Sharaf that culminated with an understanding to overcome the barriers of the past and complete the construction of roads and achieving food security between the two countries.

Sharaf and Taha signed several memorandums of understandings in the fields of industry, agriculture, information, health and education. The Sudanese VP called for boosting the Egyptian investments in Sudan that he said are currently at $5 billion

In a related issue the Egyptian foreign minister Nabil el-Araby told reporters in Khartoum that Cairo will be the second after Sudan to recognize the independence of the South following the referendum results which pointed to an almost unanimous vote by Southerners in favor of secession which will become official next July.

"Sudan intends to be the first to recognize Juba (capital of South Sudan) and Egypt intends to be the second to recognize the south," el-Araby said in Khartoum.

Cairo had been concerned that the breakup of Sudan will impact its share of the Nile waters particularly in light of a move by upstream countries to amend the colonial agreements that grants Cairo the lion’s share of the river.

Egypt held dominant right on Nile water following powers granted by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain. Its subsequent 1959 deal with Sudan gave the two downstream countries more than 90 percent control of Nile waters.

The NBI signed in May 2010 by Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia will curb that right. Other affected countries, including Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were given one year to ink the deal.

Kenya signed shortly after the ceremony and Burundi signed earlier this month, the last possible day for signature.

"We will be offering a new proposal to the Nile Basin states ... and we hope to find a solution which will not harm any nation," Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hussein Ehsan el-Ateifi told reporters in Khartoum.

He did not go into details but Egyptian government spokesman Magdy Rady said an unfinished and long-stalled project to create the Jonglei Canal in South Sudan, which would channel swamp water back into the Nile, would be discussed in Juba.

"This is still a project — we spent a lot of money on it and there is still a little money left to finish it," he said, "This project — if we finish it — it will provide 4 billion extra (litres of water a year)."

"This will be divided between Egypt and south Sudan — if they are not in urgent need of it, we are in urgent need of it."

The Egyptian delegation will head to Juba for talks with South Sudan officials including president Salva Kiir


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  • 28 March 2011 09:34, by harry

    Why Egypt vows to open a new page with Sudan? What’s wrong with the old page? Is that mean Egypt is going to withdraw from Halyeb area? Any possible answers from readers please, I’m just curious to learn. Thanks


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    • 29 March 2011 06:00, by Deng Ateny Lueth

      Well, Jonglei canal is untouchable subject and it should not be discuss with anybody. Egyptian official said this project has finished money and nothing is left to finish it. i don’t think south sudan legislative assembly is in position to interfer with jonglei state people’s rights and ownership land provided under the consitution. i believe mr president kiir will not atempt to be the first person breaching the laws of Jonglei state.

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  • 28 March 2011 10:03, by Deng II

    "This is still a project — we spent a lot of money on it and there is still a little money left to finish it," he said, "This project — if we finish it — it will provide 4 billion extra (litres of water a year)."

    "This will be divided between Egypt and south Sudan — if they are not in urgent need of it, we are in urgent need of it."

    Is Egyitain Prime Minsiter Essam Sharaf is more stupid like this than disease? What make him thinking he still have right to continues with canal project in Southern Sudan? A project that will draw up swarmm water. Do we have to continues instead leveling it over?
    If President Kiir going to accepting this lunatics wishful thinking proposal,he is going to be dead dog fool. There will be more rebellion than right now. I don’t need to negotiate with those Egyptian who do’t brush their teeth before they eat,but eating with dirty decay teeth.

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    • 29 March 2011 00:05, by mohamad adam

      bravo deng 11 my advise to my brothers in sout to avoid the egyptians you are not going to gain any thing from this hipocrats

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  • 28 March 2011 12:59, by Monyekuron

    The Egyptian Prime Minister must be reminded that the Sudd area (to be renamed "The Great Wetlands of South Sudan")is a no go area. Reviving that project would mean altering the ecological sytem of the region with catastrophic consequences for the inhabitants of the area, including the animal wealth and wildlife. The Great Wetlands of South Sudan also play an important role in conserving the waters of the Nile. Under no circumstances should any Government of South Sudan commit itself to the Egyptyian dream. Egypt should start thinking about desalianating the Sea water to suppliment its share of Nile Water.
    Finally I would like to propose that The South Sudan Parliament should pass a motion declaring the "Great Wetlands of South Sudan" a protected area.

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    • 29 March 2011 02:16, by harry

      Breaking news,

      Ismail koney, the Murle leader has defected.

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      • 29 March 2011 09:18, by Shuillk kingdom


        Where did u get this from?

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        • 30 March 2011 07:34, by harry

          Dear Shuillk Kingdom, please read the report bellow to confirm Ismail konyi defection.
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          ???????, 28 ????/???? 2011 17:43

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