Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour - File Photo
CAIRO - 23 February 2018: Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour reiterated his assurance on the importance of Egypt-Sudan relations, confirming that there are committees tasked to solve any outstanding problems.
In a press conference on Thursday, Ghandour explained that there are three committees addressing border affairs and consular and political consultation with representatives from both countries.
He further commented on the date the Sudanese ambassador will return to Cairo, saying, “It will be announced in due course,” according to the Sudanese news agency.
In January, Khartoum summoned its ambassador from Cairo over consultations without giving further details.
When asked whether the Sudanese ambassador is expected to return to Cairo to resume his work, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi answered, "It is a foregone conclusion,” during a tripartite summit last month in Addis Ababa with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
“Sudan is concerned about its relations with the neighboring countries, with which we share common interests,” Ghandour continued at Thursday’s press conference. The Sudanese minister added that his country gives good attention to border diplomacy, adding that two borders were opened between Sudan and Egypt to boost relations between both nations.
Earlier this month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Ghandour met in Cairo to discuss regional and international issues, including issues relating to the Nile basin and water security.
Ghandour then said that Egyptian-Sudanese relations are “sacred and will not be ruined.”
Both Shoukry and Ghandour voiced their concerns over the verbal jousting taking place between Sudanese and Egyptian media outlets and agreed to establish a joint media honor code.
The Addis Ababa summit last month was considered a breakthrough in the stalled negotiations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) between the three African countries. It follows years of negotiations, since May 2011, between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
Reassuring words were said by President Sisi after the tripartite meeting in Addis Ababa, where he addressed the people of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, saying “Be absolutely reassured… Ethiopia's and Sudan's interest is Egypt's as well...we are speaking as one country, not three states.” He even declined to call the GERD issue a “crisis.”
However, a recent development in internal Ethiopian affairs, which led Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to resign, has sent fears of a negative impact on GERD negotiations. Experts signal Desalegn as a main factor in the Nile River issue, due to his friendly relationship with President Sisi.
In response to a request from Ethiopia, Sudan postponed a tripartite meeting including Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which was due to be hosted by Khartoum next week.
Egypt has voiced its concerns regarding the dam’s capacity of water storage, fearing that it may negatively affect its share of Nile water.
However, Ethiopia has repeatedly denied any negative effect of the GERD on Egypt’s share of the Nile water.
Egypt has previously announced its approval of the report prepared by PRL Consulting, on the guidelines that it should be followed when conducting studies on the effects of the dam. However, Ethiopia and Sudan rejected the findings of the report, which has crippled the continuation of studies necessary for the establishment of the dam.