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Bashir, al-Sisi agree to upgrade bilateral cooperation committee

October 18, 2014 (CAIRO) – Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has agreed with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to personally co-chair a joint ministerial committee to accelerate the implementation of agreement and projects between the two countries.

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Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meets with Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir in Cairo on 18 October 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

During the first day of his first visit to Cairo since the fall of the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, al-Bashir and al-Sisi held a close-door meeting followed by another meeting attended by ministerial delegations from both sides.

In statements released after Saturday’s meetings; the two presidents decided to upgrade the joint ministerial cooperation committee to a presidential committee they personally co-chair, and pledged to strengthen and develop bilateral relations to serve the common interests of the two countries.

“The” time has come to strengthen Egyptian-Sudanese relations in all fields,” Bashir said, while al-Sisi added “it is necessary to establish complementary relationships for the benefit of the two countries”.

Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt, Abdel-Mahmood Abdel-Haleem, told the official news agency SUNA that the joint presidential cooperation committee will hold a meeting in the near future.

Rights groups in the two countries issued statements reminding that Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide and war crimes committed in Darfur region.

Also Egyptian commentators on Saturday criticised Bashir for his recent statements reaffirming g that the disputed border area of Halaib belongs to Sudan.

Abdel-Haleem further said the talks touched on the situation in Libya and Syria.

But he did not mention if the two parties discussed Halaib or the Ethiopian dam project which is supported by Khartoum while Cairo demands to review its plans.

However, following a meeting with his Sudanese counterpart on Saturday, the Egyptian irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi praised the role played by the Sudanese government to “melt the ice” in relations between Addis Ababa and Cairo, as he said.

The three countries are expected to meet in Khartoum next November to resume discussions on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.