A popular Egyptian public diplomacy delegation will arrive in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Friday to pave the road for a better relationship between the two countries, as part of the efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Nile water dispute and other issues related to it.
“A 48-member Egyptian delegation led by prime minister, Essam Sharaf will arrive in Addis Ababa early on Friday to consult on ways of improving relations with the new Egyptian government” Shimels Kemal, a spokesman for the Communications Ministry of Ethiopia, told Sudan Tribune.
According to the government official, the “Egyptian People’s Diplomatic Delegation” is the same delegation that Egypt sent to Uganda which failed to convince the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, to back the new Nile Basin Treaty.
The Egyptian delegation includes three presidential candidates, a number of prominent political figures, including Osama Al Ghazaly Harb, the head of Al Gabha party, Alsayed Elbadawy the head of Al Wafd party, Hussein Ibrahim of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser the son of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, journalists , and representatives from the January 25 Revolution Youth.
“The delegation will meet with several Ethiopian officials, including the prime minister, the foreign minister and religious leaders”. Kemal said.
Egypt has recently demanded technical and environmental studies over the newly launched hydro-power dam which Ethiopia intends to build on the Nile. Addis Ababa has rejected previous bilateral dealings.
When asked if the negotiation of a new bilateral deal between Egypt and Ethiopia is expected in the meeting, Kemal said “it will only aim to establish better relations between the countries”
The Egyptian delegation is hoping to build better relationships with African nations after the fall of the former regime.
The Ethiopian government recently said that relations between Ethiopia and Egypt has improved since the the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s in a popular uprising earlier this year.
At a news conference last week, Ethiopia foreign affairs minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Egyptian authorities were willing to cooperate with the signatory countries to the new pact on equitable water sharing.
“There’s a new momentum now in Egypt, after the revolution, there’s desire from all sides that we should engage ourselves together, closing all the past chapters,” said Desalegn.