Egypt's FM discusses bilateral relations, Nile Basin developments with Kenyan President Kenyatta

Al Ahram

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry met on Tuesday with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where they discussed boosting bilateral relations and issues relating to the Nile Basin, ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement. Shoukry delivered an invitation from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for Kenyatta to visit Egypt. El-Sisi stressed Egypt's keenness to boost relations between the two countries, and Kenyatta expressed his gratitude for Egypt's support during Kenya's recent political crisis.

Kenya was Egypt’s number one trading partner in COMESA in 2017, when Egypt greatly increased trade with the country, exporting goods worth $170 million; a 30 percent increase from the previous year. The two officials also discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and both stressed their commitment to working on achieving a consensus and ensuring the interests of all Nile Basin states in accordance with international law without harming any side.

On Monday, Shoukry started a tour in Africa, where he first visited South Sudan and met President Salva Kiir and other top officials. During the meeting with Kenyatta, Shoukry invited the president to hold the seventh session of the Kenya-Egypt Joint Commission for Corporation soon in Cairo. Kenyatta said that he looks forward to working with his Egyptian counterpart during Egypt's leadership of the African Union (AU) next year.

Shoukry's visit comes amid Egyptian efforts to seek support to secure the AU leadership position, as well as boost relations in several fields in the African continent, especially with Nile Basin states. In late January, El-Sisi met with the leaders of Sudan and Ethiopia in a tripartite summit in the Ethiopian capital to discuss differences over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

"People should be assured. None of [our three] countries – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – will be harmed," El-Sisi told reporters at the time. In 2013, Ethiopia started building the Grand Renaissance Dam on the main tributary to the River Nile in Egypt, which has caused tensions between the two countries. In 2014, Egypt and Ethiopia started negotiations on the dam's filling process, which Cairo is concerned could reduce its annual 55-billion cubic meters share of Nile water.