CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has told China that his country would maintain its firm stance on preserving its water security in the face of an ongoing dispute over a giant Nile dam project.
During talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on Sunday, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi reiterated Egypt’s historical rights to the Nile waters and stressed the need to reach a binding legal agreement about the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that worked in the interests of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
Yi pointed out Beijing’s understanding of the importance of the Nile River to Egypt and its interest in helping to find a solution to the impasse.
An official spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency said Cairo was keen to strengthen its strategic partnership with China which had been established for 65 years.
The Chinese minister noted the acceptance of Egypt as a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance.
Since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, relations between Egypt and China have been further cemented through the signing of a joint manufacturing agreement for the Sinovac vaccine in Egypt, and El-Sisi said he hoped the two countries could continue to work together in bolstering international efforts to tackle the global health crisis.
The president added that Egypt was keen to draw on Chinese expertise in supporting development programs and national infrastructure projects, including integration into the Belt and Road Initiative.
To mark this year’s 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Egypt and China inked an agreement to set up a governmental cooperation committee to advance bilateral cooperation in a range of fields.
The GERD project was among a number of regional and international issues discussed in talks chaired by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Yi.
Shoukry said a mutually beneficial deal was needed on the dam scheme that preserved the Nile water security of downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, and he noted the importance of China’s position on the issue.
The two sides also talked in detail about ways to resolve the Palestinian crisis.