Back from Sochi: Sisi talked Russian investments, relieved GERD tensions

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Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 01:10 GMT

During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sisi affirmed his keenness to deepen the partnership relations between the two countries - Courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency

During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sisi affirmed his keenness to deepen the partnership relations between the two countries - Courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency

CAIRO – 25 October 2019: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived back in Cairo on Thursday after chairing the Russia-Africa Forum in Sochi, Russia from October 23-24, along with his Russian counterpart, during which he met with many African leaders.

President Sisi attended the forum, as the chairman of the African Union, during which he discussed with other leaders current issues in Africa, including the Libyan issue and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Talking investments with Putin

During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sisi affirmed his keenness to deepen the partnership relations between the two countries, and discussed the Russian industrial zone being implemented in Egypt, according to the Egyptian Presidency.

Russia and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding for establishing the Russian industrial zone in 2016. The zone is being implemented over 5.25 million square meters as part of the Suez Canal Area Development Project, to provide job opportunities for 35,000 people, according to Egypt's Industry Ministry. The zone is expected to attract $7 billion investments.

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The two presidents also discussed the construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant, which would be established by Egypt and Russia under a 2015 deal near Egypt’s Al-Alamein.

Putin said on Wednesday that Russia allocated $190 million to the infrastructure of the nuclear plant.

The two leaders discussed a number of issues related to bilateral relations, including joint efforts to resume Russian flights to Egypt, and the technical consultations between the two sides in this regard. They also talked cooperation in the field of transport and railway development, as well as joint cooperation in security and combating terrorism.

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Remarks on GERD

During the visit, President Sisi also held a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, where they have agreed to resume the work of the technical commission that supervises the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, following days of tensions between the two countries over the issue.

Tensions over the dam recently grew as Egypt on Tuesday expressed its great shock and deep concern in a press statement, in response to Ahmed’s reported warning that his country could ready millions of people in case a war broke out over the dam.

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Meeting Sisi during the forum, Ahmed expressed appreciation for the Egyptian leadership, government and people, saying that his recent remarks on GERD were quoted out of context, the Presidency said.

Ahmed said that his statements that drew controversy have expressed Ethiopia's commitment to the construction of the Renaissance Dam without causing harm to Egypt and Sudan.

He said that his government and people have no intention to harm the interests of the Egyptian people, affirming that the stability of the two countries is an added value for the whole African continent.

Ahmed said that he, as prime minister, is committed to what has been declared by his country concerning adherence to negotiations towards a final agreement.

President Sisi, during the meeting, said that while Egypt has always shown openness and understanding of the developmental interests of the Ethiopian state through establishing GERD, it sticks to its historical rights in the Nile water share.

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The construction of the dam should take place within a balanced framework, that takes into consideration the interests of both the upstream and downstream countries, Sisi said, adding that the Nile River marks cooperation, brotherhood and development, and should never be seen as a source of any problems or conflicts.

Meeting AU Commission chief

Sisi on Wednesday also met with Chairperson of African Union Commission Moussa Faki, on the sidelines of the forum.

Faki expressed his keenness to attend Egypt's Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development next December, as it would represent an important platform for dialogue and political and developmental interaction among leaders, decision makers, and experts from Africa and other continents.

Sisi, for his part, expressed Egypt's keenness to continue close cooperation and coordination with the African Union Commission to advance African joint action in various fields during the Egyptian chairmanship of the AU, in a way that serves the interests of the African continent.

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The president also highlighted the importance of cooperation to achieve remarkable development in the fields that constitute a priority in the AU’s agenda, including economic and regional integration, peace and security, institutional reform of the Union, and cooperation with international partners.

Sisi also called for working on fostering the efforts of the AU to prevent conflicts and activate its policy for post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts, within the framework of a comprehensive approach based on development.

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