Sudan’s Bashir visits Egypt, confirms “identical position” on Nile Water dispute
Sudan Tribune: September 16, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir arrived in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Sunday and reaffirmed during talks with his counterpart Mohammed Morsi the “identical position” of the two neighbors with regards to the dispute over Nile Water rights.
Al-Bashir arrived at Cairo International Airport on Sunday’s afternoon and was welcomed by Egyptian Vice-President Mahmoud Makki. He later held a summit with Mohammed Mursi and discussed various issues related to bilateral relations as reported by official media on both sides.
According to the spokesperson of the Egyptian presidency, Yasir Ali, the summit of Al-Bashir and Morsi touched on the subject of the Nile water shares.
In a press conference on Sunday, Ali said that the summit confirmed that the “position of Khartoum and Cairo regarding the Nile Basin crisis is identical”
Sudan and Egypt share opposition to attempts by the Nile Basin’s upstream nations especially Ethiopia to alter Nile water shares as dictated by colonial-era treaties which give Cairo the bulk of Africa’s longest river flow.
Ali stressed that the issue of the Nile Water is “an Egyptian national security issue” He added that details of what was agreed in the summit would be announced in a joint statement at the end of the Sudanese delegation’s visit on Monday.
Sudan official news agency, SUNA, reported that the talks between Al-Bashir and Morsi focused on ways of advancing bilateral relations but made no specific mention of the Nile water issue.
Al-Bashir’s current visit to Egypt is his first since the election of Mohammed Morsi who represents the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in June this year.
Egypt ignored calls by Amnesty International, (AI), an advocacy group, to arrest Al-Bashir against the background of the warrants issued for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly masterminded in his country’s western region of Darfur.
Al-Bashir and his delegation attended a dinner reception organized on Sunday by the Sudanese embassy in Cairo. The occasion was also attended by a host of dignitaries including the general guide of MB Mohammed Badi and leader of Sudan’s ex-opposition Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Mohammed Osman Al-Mirghani as well as Egypt’s former Secretary General of the Arab League Amru Mosa.
But the leader of the Egyptian opposition Ghad Al-Thawra party, Ayman Nour, said he declined an invitation to attend the dinner citing “respect for Sudanese people” Speaking in a phone interview with Al-Mehwar Egyptian TV station, Nour said that Al-Bashir visit must be viewed in light of the accusations that much blood has been spilled in Sudan in recent years due to his policies.
Addressing the dinner reception, Al-Bashir said that the relations between Egypt and Sudan are yet to reach the desired level. He revealed that the upcoming days will witness activation of a number of bilateral agreements including the “Four Freedoms” accord as well as the signing of new agreements in the fields of agriculture, investment and animal resources.
He pointed out that the joint ministerial committee between the two countries is due to hold a meeting in Khartoum at the end of this week and will draw up a roadmap for achieving greater cooperation between the two nations. Khartoum and Cairo signed the four freedoms in 2004 but the deal which allows citizens of each state the freedom to move, stay, work and earn property in the other is yet to be fully implemented.