World Bulletin / News Desk
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, currently on a daylong visit to Ethiopia, asserted on Thursday that the Nile River "binds us [Egypt and Ethiopia] together."
His statements came during a joint press briefing between Shoukry and Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom, held Thursday in Addis Ababa after half an hour of closed-door discussions.
"The Nile binds us together," Shoukry said. "Historically it has done so and it will bind us together in the future as a source of mutual benefit, understanding and cooperation."
The aim of his trip to Ethiopia, he added, was to maintain the "high level" of dialogue between the two countries.
Shoukry stressed that Egypt considered its relations with Ethiopia as a primary component of its foreign policy, noting that he had discussed with Tedros preparations for an upcoming Egypt-Ethiopia ministerial meeting.
"I think we set the stage for new areas of cooperation between the two countries to consolidate our already deep historic relations," the foreign minister said.
He said a June meeting between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn had laid the groundwork for a new phase of Egyptian-Ethiopian cooperation – one based on mutual understanding and respect.
"We [Shoukry and Tedros] also had the opportunity to discuss how to move higher political dialogue meetings to the level of heads of state," Egypt's top diplomat said.
"We look forward to the heads of state and senior officials from the two countries meeting [in order] to consolidate bilateral relations," he added.
Shoukry said the trilateral technical committee that convened in Sudanese capital Khartoum late last month had allowed all parties to demonstrate the confidence that was built as a result of the June meeting between al-Sisi and Desalegn.
He added that the recent committee meeting in Khartoum had also been an occasion for all parties to reevaluate the situation from each other's perspective.
"I'm equally interested in developing Ethiopia's interests and I'm sure that my brother [Tedros] is equally interested in taking Egypt – and the interests of the Egyptian people – into account," he said
Tedros, for his part, said he and Shoukry had agreed to remain in close contact.
Citing the adage, "Let's swim together or sink together," Tedros asserted: "This [recent high-level meetings and the Khartoum meeting] is an excellent opportunity for the countries to swim together."
"We have no other option," he added.
Tedros went on to note that, since June, Ethiopian and Egyptian officials had had several opportunities to engage one another.
He stressed the need to deepen the two countries' relations, noting that a joint Egypt-Ethiopia ministerial committee would convene soon.
"There are agreements in the pipeline – [agreements] on health, agriculture, air service, urban development and tourism, the last being an area where Ethiopia has a lot to learn from Egypt," he said.
After meeting his Ethiopian counterpart, Shoukry proceeded to Desalegn's office, where he gave the prime minister a message from al-Sisi.Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2014, 17:20