FILE - Egypt’s Minster of Foreign affairs Sameh Shoukry
CAIRO – 24 January 2018: Egypt’s Minster of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry heads on Wednesday to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to participate in the 30th African Union (AU) summit and to lead the Peace and Security Council meeting.
According to an official statement issued on Wednesday morning, ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Shoukry will first participate in the summit’s preparatory meetings on January 22 and 23, then take part in the 23rd ordinary session of the executive council at the level of foreign ministers during January 25 and 26, and finally in the 30th AU summit at the level of leaders and heads of state during January 28 and 29, which is expected to take place in the presence of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
This year’s AU summit will be titled “Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable approach to Africa's transformation”. This title is considered as the AU’s slogan in 2018, according to Abu Zeid.
Shoukry also will head Egypt’s delegation during the meetings of the executive council as they will discuss several economic reports regarding Africa’s development agenda for 2063.
Egypt is expected to head the Peace and Security Council meeting as part of the AU’s most important sessions this year, according to the statement. Several issues will be discussed during the summit, including the Libyan issue and the partnership between the United Nations and the AU.
Several meetings are expected to take place between Shoukry and his African counterparts during his participation in the summit. Mutual issues of common interests are expected to be discussed. President Sisi is also expected to head to Addis Ababa next week to participate in the AU summit from January 28 to 29.
No further official details were announced about the issues that will be discussed between the leaders during the summit in Addis Ababa. However, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is expected to be one of Sisi’s top discussion points, as all of the African leaders will be present.
Earlier this month, Ethiopian Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn visited Egypt and was accompanied by a high-profile delegation to attend the sixth meeting of the joint Egyptian-Ethiopian Higher Committee. The last meeting was held three years ago and tackled bilateral cooperation in several fields, including education, health, agriculture and fisheries.
The visit came within the framework of the joint Egyptian-Ethiopian Committee, which had been postponed several times since December.
Diplomatic sources revealed to Egypt Today that a tripartite summit between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan is expected by the end of the month, more specifically during the AU meetings. The summit will provide new solutions and ideas in regards to the dam file.
Previously, Egypt suggested including the World Bank as a neutral mediator in the tripartite technical committee’s talks on the GERD. However, on January 21, Ethiopia announced its rejection of the suggestion.
Desalegn said that Ethiopia will not accept any arbitration by a third party on the GERD issue, as there is an opportunity for the three countries to resolve possible disputes by themselves.
"Seeking professional support is one thing; transferring it to an institution is another thing. So we told them that this is not acceptable from our side," he added.
Since May 2011, Cairo voiced its concern over how the dam could reduce the country’s annual share of more than 56 billion cubic meters of Nile water. Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). However, Addis Ababa claimed that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development and will not harm downstream countries.
The AU is an international organization consisting of 55 African countries, established on July 9, 2002.