Interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy said on Tuesday that Egypt’s interim government is “re-positioning Egypt in its rightful place as a country of Arab identity and African roots.”
Fahmy’s comments to state media outlet MENA came on the sidelines of meetings in Burundi, which is one of three countries included on a ministerial tour of Nile basin countries, which also includes Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“There is no solution for one party at the expense of another,” said Fahmy of the future needs of the Nile Basin countries. He added: “The goals of one party cannot be achieved without achieving the goals of the other party.”
Fahmy, joined by interim Minister of Agriculture Ayman Abu Hadid and interim Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Development Ibrahim Mahlab, began their tour in Uganda, where they met with President Yoweri Museveni. They discussed the issues surrounding the Nile water and according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was agreed that “there must be room for cooperation.” Fahmy recognises that there are a variety of different needs for each of the Nile Basin countries, but stressed that they do not conflict, adding: “The solution is therefore not to wrestle with each other but to find innovative and constructive solutions and look to the future.”
The building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam raised much concern in Egypt when the Ethiopian authorities began diverting water. The fear is that the dam will have a detrimental effect on Egypt’s share of the vital Nile water. A meeting has been organised to take place in Khartoum in the first week of November to discuss the findings of an international tripartite report released in June. Attending the meeting will be interim Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Motaleb and his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts.
Since he assumed the post of interim Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fahmy has repeatedly stated that he is re-structuring Egypt’s approach to foreign policy. He instructed the ministry to re-evaluate its relations with all countries, with no exception. Fahmy has paid special attention to Egypt’s African neighbours, which began with his first official visit to Sudan and South Sudan. Fahmy has also sought to repair some relationships with Arab countries that were not supporters of Mohamed Morsi’s regime. Fahmy accompanied interim President Adly Mansour on his first overseas tour of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, two countries that made no secret of their disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood led government.
Egypt’s relations with African countries received a blow following Morsi’s ouster in July, following which Egypt’s membership to the African Union Peace and Security Council was suspended. The ministry has repeatedly expressed its rejection of this decision.
The ministerial delegation is expected to continue its tour of Nile Basin countries with a final stop in the Democratic Republic of Congo.