Sunday, September 18, 2011

Egypt, Ethiopian leaders agree to open new chapter in relations

Cairo. Egypt and Ethiopian leaders agreed on Saturday to examine the impact of a planned Nile river dam and to open a "new chapter" in once-strained relations, Xinhua reported.
Visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his Egyptian counterpart Essam Sharaf made the announcement at a joint news conference following talks in Cairo on Saturday.Zenwai said the two countries agreed to expedite their efforts to establish a tripartite team comprised of Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese experts to assess the new dam."We have agreed to quickly establish the tripartite team of technical experts to examine the impact of the dam under construction in Ethiopia. We have agreed to continue to work on the basis of a win-win solution for all countries in the Nile Basin," Zenawi said."We have agreed on many issues, but the most important principle is to open a new chapter in our relations, a new chapter that's based on mutual interests and the future of our children and grandsons, not one that's based on problems. It will be a new chapter based on benefits and development," Sharaf said.The visit, the first by a top Ethiopian official since the fall of Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak amid protests in February, was important for both Egypt and Ethiopia, as it will help them reach better understanding and closer positions, particularly as a new power is emerging in Cairo.Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia soured after countries that share the Nile river basin demanded the revision of colonial- era agreements that allot the bulk of the river's water to Egypt and Sudan and allow Cairo to veto upstream projects.Egypt has not recognized the agreement among other basin countries that revised the treaties.