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Bashir to attend inauguration ceremony of the new Suez Canal

July 31, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will lead a high-ranking delegation to Egypt to attend the inauguration ceremony of the New Suez Canal, slated for August 6.

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A general view shows construction at Egypt’s New Suez Canal project at the Suez Canal zone, Egypt, June 13, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)

The Egyptian president Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi will give the start signal for the new project in the presence of several heads of states and governments including Russia, France, Cyprus, Iraq, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, Djibouti, United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Lebanon.

The new Suez Canal is expected to double the revenues of its strategic waterway over the next decade.

It has constructed a new lane which runs alongside part of the existing canal, allowing reduced transit and waiting times for ships.

It took one year to dig the new canal, with a cost of some $8,5billions. Egyptians funded the whole project.

The existing canal earns Egypt around $5 billion per year. The new canal, which will allow two-way traffic of larger ships, is supposed to increase revenues by 2023 to $15 billion.

Egypt also plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the Suez Canal that it expects will eventually make up about a third of the national economy.

FOUR FREEDOMS AGREEMENT

Meanwhile, the Egyptian ambassador to Khartoum Osama Shaltout said the Four Freedoms Agreement signed between Sudan and Egypt falls under the direct supervision of the presidential committee.

He pointed in press statements following his meeting with Sudan’s parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer that the committee would meet during the coming two months according to the schedules of the two presidents.

The Egyptian envoy stressed the anticipated meeting of the presidential committee would discuss some aspects of the four freedoms agreement beside several other joint strategic issues.

“It is hoped that Bashir and Sisi’s meeting would discuss several issues on top of which is the activation of the Four Freedoms Agreement between the two nations,” he added.

The Four Freedom Agreement guarantees to citizens from the two countries freedom of movement and residence, right to work and own property. It was signed in Cairo by former president Hosni Mubarak and Bashir on 18 January 2004.

Egypt under Mubarak feared a massive influx by refugees or even terrorists from Sudan if the accord was implemented.

However, the opening of the Eshkait-Qustul border crossing between the two countries last year was seen as proof for the ability of the two nations to overcome all obstacles to develop bilateral cooperation.