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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agree to enhance cooperation

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The Grand Renaissance Dam is under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. (Photo AFP/William Lloyd-George)

February 20, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan leader Saturday have agreed to boost relations and reinforce trilateral cooperation in political, security and economic fields.

The crisis over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2013 between Addis Ababa and Cairo has finally produced a positive impact on the relations between the three countries, as their leaders are now convinced it better for them to strengthen relations based on common interests.

In a meeting held on the sidelines of a regional economic forum Africa 2016 in Sharam el-Sheikh - Egypt on Saturday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President Omer al-Bashir and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed ways to develop relations in all fields and tasked their foreign ministers to mull over the creation of an institutional framework for tripartite cooperation.

Speaking after the meeting the spokesperson of the Egyptian presidency Ala Youssef told reporters that the parties discussed the development of relations between the three countries sharing Blue Nile water.

A joint statement issued in Sharam el-Sheikh said the three leaders agreed to create a common fund for the implementation of development projects. Further, they decided to form three political, economic, and social-cultural committees to oversee cooperation between their countries.

Also, it was provided to enhance intelligence and security cooperation in the context of the fight against terrorism, and the training of military and security personnel.

The statement said the three countries agreed to encourage parliamentary meetings and the exchange of visits between the lawmakers in the three nations to "deepening mutual understanding at the grassroots level".

Tensions raised during the past two years between Ethiopia and Egypt over the construction of a dam at 20km from the Sudanese border.

Egypt said the reservoir of this dam is able to hold the whole volume of the entire Blue Nile and threatens its water supply. But Ethiopia said it has no intention to intercept water but to produce 6,ooo megawatts of electricity to cover its needs and to export the rest to neighbouring country.

Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters that the issue of the dame was not a crisis over the dam’s construction but a "crisis of confidence".

He further reiterated that Ethiopia is committed to the Declaration of Principles which provides that the construction of the Renaissance Dam should not harm the interests of the downstream countries.

(ST)

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