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Egypt is always associated with Nile dam discussions between Ethiopia and Sudan: Ghandour

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President Omer al-Bashir shakes hands with the Ethiopian prime minister upon his arrive to Khartoum on 15 August 2017 (ST Photo)
August 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour Tuesday praised the exemplary relationship between Ethiopia and Sudan, but was keen to underscore that the discussions on Renaissance Dame and Nile Water are always done with the Egyptian participation.

The Sudanese top diplomat was speaking at a press conference held in Khartoum after the arrival of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in an official three-day visit where the two neighbours will sign a number of bilateral agreements in various fields.

"Sudan’s relationship with Ethiopia goes beyond water issues. The water is a national security issue for Sudan, Ethiopia and the rest of the Nile Basin countries. Also, it is one of the most important issues under the Nile Basin Initiative, the Technical Committee of the Nile Basin and the water agreement between the three countries.(Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan), particularly with regard to the Renaissance Dam," he said.

The issue of water has been always present when two of the three parties meet but the concern is always "how to have tripartite cooperation between the three countries," he further stressed.

The Ethiopian multi-billion dollar Renaissance Dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometres from the Sudanese border, and has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.

Sudan backs the project because its water will be used to develop the eastern Sudan region while Ethiopia says it intends to produce only electricity and has no interest in the water or any intention to harm Egypt.

However, Cairo is openly opposed to the project and requests more guarantees that the project will not affect its share of the Nile water.

Ghandour who held a joint press conference with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Hirut Zemene told reports that bilateral meetings will be held between the respective ministers in the two countries to discuss issues of security, water, economic cooperation etc...

He added that the Ethiopian premier will visit a number of industrial establishments and will give a lecture on the Horn of Africa at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum.

In a speech delivered at the opening session of the joint talks, President Omer Bashir said the bilateral coordination serves the unity of purpose and destiny of the two eastern African countries.

He said that the joint mechanism allows the two countries to move towards the completion of joint projects mainly the railways, banking and economic integration.

Mrs Zemene, for her part, praised Sudan’s role in managing of the water issue for the benefit of all, pointing to the existing coordination between the countries of the eastern Nile basin, expressing hope for the technical meeting in Khartoum.

Pointing to a meeting between the Sudanese president and the Ethiopian prime minister before the press conference, she said During the meeting, the two sides affirmed their commitment to promote and push forward the partnership between the two countries in all political, economic, security and defence fields.

She added it was agreed to continue the discussions in meetings to be held during the first quarter of next year to consolidate joint cooperation, as well as work together to maintain peace and security in the region.

The political instability in several countries in the region particularly in Somalia and South Sudan seems a source of concern for the political leadership in the two countries.

The two countries share a common concern for the volatile situation in Eritrea and the recent tensions with Djibouti.

(ST)

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