Home | News    Thursday 15 September 2011

Ethiopia, Egypt foreign ministers set for talks on bilateral, African concerns

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 14, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister, Hailemariam Desalegn led a delegation on Wednesday to Cairo to discuss bilateral ties and security concerns with the Egyptian administration.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn (R) - Reuters

The Ethiopian minister will on Thursday attend the joint Egyptian-Ethiopian committee that will examine the relationship between the two countries, particularly in terms of trade and investment.

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have improved since the downfall of former president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising earlier this year.

The new government in Egypt sent a 48-member public diplomacy delegation lasy May to Ethiopia which was shortly followed by a visit of Egyptian prime minister, Essam Sharaf.

Sharaf’s visit is said to have ushered in a new chapter of cooperation between the two countries mainly to end their long-standing dispute over the use of the Nile’s water. Ethiopia wants to use more of the Blue Nile’s water, while Egypt which has the lion’s share of the Nile’s water does not want to change a colonial-era formula giving them veto-right on any water projects on the Nile.

Ethiopia is now seeking to bolster its economic ties with the North African country and to attract more Egyptian investments.

According to Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Dina Mufti, as well as bilateral talks, the foreign ministers of the two countries will also confer on a number of African issues, particularly the situations in Sudan, South Sudan, the famine in Somalia and drought in the Horn of Africa.

However the meeting will not address the controversial Nile water issue, Sudan Tribune understands.

Following the two-day meeting headed by foreign ministers of the two countries, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is due to visit Egypt on Saturday where he is scheduled to meet chairman of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), Hussein Tantawi. Zenawi will also meet, Essam Sharaf, who has been Egyptian prime minister since March.