Visit of the Ambassador of Netherlands in Cairo to ECFA
On February 7, 2021, the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) held a meeting with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Cairo Han-Maurits Schaapveld, in a courtesy visit to ECFA. ECFA Chairman, Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, ECFA Director, Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad, and ECFA Secretary-General Ambassador Hisham El-Zimaity, represented the Council at the meeting.
Concerning Egypt-Ethiopia relations, the ambassador of Netherlands was keen on getting acquainted with developments of the Renaissance Dam file as well as ECFA efforts in this regard. Ambassador Saad noted in this context that ECFA conducts track II diplomacy with Ethiopian counterparts, in addition to coordination with the Sudanese side regarding the matter.
In this regard, he affirmed that the EU has an important role to play by mediation and persuading the Ethiopians to adopt a fair approach in the dam file that takes into account the interests of downstream countries. The Dutch ambassador commented that he personally believes it is better to accept a flexible formula than a binding agreement, adding that it is important for Egypt to adopt a plan to rationalize water consumption.
Moreover, ECFA noted the exaggeration of western media in covering the situation in Egypt. The Dutch ambassador agreed and added that Egypt has to show all the positive advances in the country, especially with the current Covid-19 challenges facing it as well as its economic and social repercussions.
At the request of ECFA Chairman, the Dutch ambassador tackled bilateral relations, noting that he held contacts with a number of governorate officials to discuss carrying out development projects with the Netherlands. He added that the development assistance provided by the Netherlands to Egypt includes the following areas:
Raising water use efficiency
Private sector development
Startups incubators and accelerators
Women and youth support
Small programs on culture in historical and archaeological sites in Egypt
Regional program on Migration to avoid irregular migration to the EU