South Africa backs Egypt 'transition,' and ready to mediate Nile dam crisis
Monday, February 24, 2014
By Hazem Badr
CAIRO - A personal envoy of South African President Jacob Zuma said Monday that his government supported Egypt's transitional roadmap, imposed by the army following last summer's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
South African State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said his country also backed what he described as Egypt's "democratic transition."
Cwele, who arrived in the Egyptian capital on Sunday, said South Africa was concerned over recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and condemned them.
Addressing reporters at Egypt's Foreign Ministry, the South African official said he had agreed with Egyptian officials on the need to bolster security cooperation between both countries.
Cwele declined to elaborate further regarding intended bilateral security cooperation.
He went on to say he had also spoken with Egyptian officials about Egypt's return to the African Union (AU) fold, noting that he would file a report on the issue to African leaders.
Egypt's AU membership was frozen on July 3, immediately after Egypt's military ousted Morsi, the country's first freely-elected president.
Cwele also said his country was ready to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia over Ethiopia's massive hydroelectric dam on the upper reaches of the Nile.
Egypt and Ethiopia are currently locked in a diplomatic standoff over the multibillion-dollar dam project. While Cairo fears the project will deprive it of much-needed Nile water, Ethiopia says it's a prerequisite for its economic development.
The South African official said he hadn't met officials from the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which Morsi hails.
He added that South Africa hadn't listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist movement, adding that he had discussed what should be done in this regard with Egyptian officials.
The army-installed interim government has recently designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
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