World Bulletin/News Desk
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi met Thursday with European Union (E.U.) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton for talks on a number of bilateral and regional issues.
Talks between Fahmi and Ashton focused on bilateral relations and cooperation between Egypt and the E.U., Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati said in a statement following the meeting.
According to Abdel-Ati, Fahmi briefed Ashton on the implementation of a transitional roadmap imposed by the military following last summer's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
On May 26-27, Egyptians are set to elect a new president in the second phase of the roadmap, which should be completed later this year with the holding of parliamentary polls.
Thursday's talks also tackled Ethiopia's Nile mega-dam project, which Cairo fears will threaten its traditional share of Nile water, the ministry spokesman said.
Ethiopia is currently building a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, the waterway that represents Egypt's main source of water. The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Talks between Fahmi and Ashton also tackled a host of regional and international issues, including foundering Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, which hit a snag last month after Israel refused to release a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.
In response, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in several United Nations agencies and treaties.
The ministry spokesman said Ashton had underlined the importance of seizing the current opportunity to achieve peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The three-year Syrian conflict and the West's negotiations with Iran over the latter's nuclear program also figured high in the talks, the statement said.
Earlier Thursday, Ashton met with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi.
Ashton arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for a two-day visit, her fourth to Egypt since Morsi's overthrow last July.
During a visit last summer, Ashton had met Morsi himself at an undisclosed location, where he had been taken in the wake of his ouster.
Europe's top diplomat also met with a number of Egyptian political parties and groups – including Morsi's embattled Muslim Brotherhood – during previous visits.
Last Mod: 10 Nisan 2014, 16:15