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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

El Sisi sends message of peace to Sudan, Ethiopia

“Egypt doesn’t conspire or meddle in anyone’s internal affairs,” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a public address yesterday, where he attempted to send a reassuring message to both Ethiopia and Sudan that Egypt is unwilling to see tensions escalate further into conflict, keen as it is on “maintaining good relations” with its neighbors (watch, runtime 3:58). “We are not prepared to go to war against our brethren or anyone else for that matter. I am saying this as a clear message to our brothers in Sudan and Ethiopia,” he added. El Sisi also had a message to the talking heads who have been inflaming the situation since Sudan and Ethiopia refused to ratify the impact studies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam late last year. El Sisi’s comments are making the rounds in international media, with coverage from The Associated Press, Reuters, Xinhua, and Business Recorder.

His statements come as he is due to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Wednesday, who is in town for a three-day visit that wraps up on Friday. On the agenda is an Egyptian-Ethiopian Joint Committee meeting on Thursday that will tackle the issues with the dam. Desalegn will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, who was in Khartoum earlier this week to meet with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour to discuss, among other things, the ongoing dispute with Cairo over border territories.

Meanwhile, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki reaffirmed that Egypt has not mobilized its troops to Eritrea’s border with Sudan after Khartoum ordered the closure of the border, Sunatimes reports. Afwerki also took note of the Suakin island agreement, saying that Turkish President Recep Erdogan “needs to make his intentions clear as he widens a Red Sea presence.”

Is the Cold War on the Nile a symptom of the GCC crisis? It is evident that “the GCC crisis has already spread to the Nile basin and the Horn of Africa, SOAS research associate Ahmed Adam writes for the The Sudan Tribune. Egypt and Saudi Arabia categorize Turkey’s agreement with Sudan regarding the Suakin island as another move by the “Turkey-Iran-Qatar axis” to undermine the stability and security of the so-called “Sunni moderate alliance,” which includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE. Adam notes that Ethiopia, just like Sudan, has become closer to Qatar, while Eritrea, Ethiopia’s regional rival, has taken the side of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE. “Consequently, the region may be pushed into new proxy conflicts in the near future,” he says.

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