Egypt's Sisi invited to visit Ethiopia

By Hesham Mohamed, Monday, June 09, 2014

CAIRO – Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom has invited Egypt's newly-inaugurated President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to visit Egypt.

"The Ethiopian minister has invited [President] al-Sisi to visit Addis Ababa during a meeting on Monday," Egyptian Presidency spokesman Ihab Badawi told reporters on Monday.

The spokesman added that "President al-Sisi has welcomed the invitation."

The invitation came one day after al-Sisi said that he would not allow Ethiopia's multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam – currently being built on the Nile's upper reaches – to damage Egypt's relations with Ethiopia or other African countries.

"I will not allow the Renaissance Dam to cause any crises," al-Sisi said in a Sunday speech following his inauguration as Egypt's new president.

"If the dam symbolizes Ethiopia's right to development, the Nile symbolizes Egypt's right to life," he added.

The Egyptian spokesman said that al-Sisi has reiterated the depth and peculiarity of relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.

"He said that water should be a source of cooperation, not a source of differences," the spokesman said.

Earlier Monday, the Ethiopian foreign minister welcomed al-Sisi's statements regarding relations between the two countries.

"Ethiopia appreciates this positive message and we assure President al-Sisi and [our] Egyptian brothers and sisters that we believe the same," Adhanom wrote on his official Facebook page Monday.

"We are determined to take our relationship with Egypt to a higher level by building trust and confidence," he added.

Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia's construction of a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. The project raised alarm bells in Egypt, which relies on the river for almost all its water needs.

Water distribution among Nile Basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty that gives Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water. Ethiopia, for its part, says it has never recognized the treaty.

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