Egypt Rallies Support from Nile Upstream States
Egypt continues with its strategic approach to enhance its position among Nile Basin countries in particular, and strengthen African relations in general, hoping to rally support for its policies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which it says will affect its share of the Nile waters.
The last three rounds of negotiations did not yield much progress at the level of the negotiations between the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) and the upstream state (Ethiopia).
Both Adis Ababa and Khartoum insist on rejecting the preliminary report by a French firm (agreed by the three) on the economic, environmental and social impacts of the dam. Whereas, Cairo announced its acceptance of the report.
The Egyptian steps appeared to have positive effects especially after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, said during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that extended an invitation to Sisi to visit Uganda and become the first Egyptian President to tour the Source of River Nile.
The Egyptian-Ugandan summit discussed the Nile basin issue and joint cooperation, as well as the signing of agreements between the two countries in the fields of agriculture, irrigation, engineering and electricity.
"The two presidents discussed the Nile water issue, and they both agreed on the importance of enhancing cooperation between the Nile basin states to achieve sustainable use of the water resources in favor of the common interests of the peoples of upstream and downstream countries," Egypt's presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in the statement.
The spokesman indicated that President Sisi welcomed the consensus of views of both countries regarding different political issues, hailing the Ugandan president's efforts to reach political settlements for the crises facing the continent and to boost anti-terrorism efforts in Africa.
Egypt has intensified its efforts in the continent, especially in the past two months, and the Foreign Minister toured several countries including Burundi, Kenya and South Sudan, while Cairo received Kenyan President and his Ugandan counterpart.
The Egyptian meetings were not limited to diplomatic talks, but some of them included the launch of development projects provided by Egypt to Burundi within the framework of the programs and projects of support provided by the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development (EAPD) of Foreign Ministry to African countries.