Visit of the Council Delegation to the Republic of Sudan
At the invitation of its Sudanese Council for Foreign Affairs, the ECFA delegation headed by Ambassador Abdel Raouf El-Reedy, the Honorary Chairman of the Council, and comprising Ambassador Ihab Wahba, Ambassador Hisham El-zimaity and Ambassador Ezzat Saad, visited Khartoum on 2nd – 4th February 2016. The delegation was received by Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim Ghandour on 3 February 2016 and held a seminar with its Sudanese counterpart at the Diplomatic Club on “the Future and Prospects of the Egyptian -Sudanese relations”. At the conclusion of the visit, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between them.
The Following are the main points that were emphasized during the visit:
First: the Meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim Ghandour:
The minister expressed a great interest in visiting the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, noting that its experience was an important source of inspiration for them to establish their own counterpart Council in 2008, as a think tank for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this context, the minister said that they were counting on cooperation between the two Councils as a means to develop and activate relations between the two countries.
The Sudanese minister welcomed the visit by the delegation and praised the deep historical ties between Egypt and Sudan, pointing in particular to:
The meetings between the two presidents, specifically their meeting on the sidelines of the last summit held in Addis Ababa, as providing a good opportunity to discuss the overall bilateral relations and upgrade them in all areas.
Confirmation of the historical rights to the Nile water, which were confirmed by President Al-Bashir to his Egyptian counterpart, and the keenness of the Sudanese side that the water level in the Blue Nile would not be affected, and that the same would apply to Egypt. He concluded that President El-Sisi’s recent comments in this regard have put things on the right way. Minister Ghandour reaffirmed that Sudan has never been biased nor a mediator or neutral party on the issue of the Renaissance Dam, as the media propagates.
Ambassador Al Reedy underlined cultural cooperation between the two countries as a good means of communication between the peoples of both of them.
Second: The Seminar on “The Future and Prospects of the Egyptian-Sudanese Relations”:
Speaker of the Sudanese Council Dr. Hussein Suleiman Abu Saleh referred to the following in his speech:
The sad situation which the Arab world is experiencing with wars and further fragmentation, similar to what Sudan witnessed in recent years and the lethal impact of the separation of the south on the Sudanese economy, indicate that conspiracies are still being hatched against Sudan to further fragment and divide it and spread chaos in a bid to perpetuates the conflict situation experienced by the country, thereby obstruct the economic and social development process.
The President of the Council also cited the case of the Renaissance Dam, which he described as quite an important dam which still requires deep and careful studies carried out by specialized experts, in the interests of the three countries, away from the media campaigns in which many specialists and non-specialists participate. The President of the Council further said that the ultimate goal is to reach a peaceful solution to preserve the interests of all concerned parties.
The dam with its announced specifications, must not leave the process of controlling the waters in the hands of a single country, especially as it is only 20 km away from the border of Sudan. It has to be a collective work of the three countries in this regard, especially as the issue of controling the dam waters stresses the need for keeping into account that 85% of Egypt’s water comes from the Ethiopian plateau.
In light of the above context, the President of the Council pointed out that a special committee from some European countries has recently concluded that the studies on the dam were inadequate, and there is still need for deep studies, both with regard to storage capacity and the effects of the dam, including the silt deposition behind it and its implications on the long term to both Sudan and Egypt.
The President of the Council concluded his speech by stressing the need for what he called “scientific joint action that shows all the facts about the Ethiopian dam.”
On his part, Dr. Mustafa Osman reviewed developments on the international and regional scene since the end of the Cold War, and spoke about the importance of democratization, human rights and the role of civil society organizations in the process of development.
He pointed out that the world is moving towards multi-polarity and building economic blocs, noting that there are issues that affect relations between the two countries such as terrorism and the protection of minorities. Adding that there are interventions and breaches by regional powers, he cited in particular Israel, Iran and Turkey. As for the powers from outside the region, he said they include Russia, the United States of America and Europe.