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Egypt, Sudan to upgrade representation in joint body

Egypt's Sisi held a closed-door meeting in Cairo with Sudanese counterpart Bashir to discuss bilateral relations
Egypt's President Abdelfattah al-Sisi and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Cairo on 18 October (AA)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Saturday agreed to upgrade representation in a joint Egyptian-Sudanese committee, a Sudanese diplomat said.

Sudan's ambassador in Cairo Abdel-Mahmoud Abdel-Halim said Sisi held a closed-door meeting – that was attended by some ministers from Egypt and Sudan – with Bashir who started an official visit to Cairo earlier in the day, his first since Sisi took over in June.

In statements released after Saturday’s meetings; the two presidents decided to upgrade the Higher Egyptian-Sudanese Joint Committee - a body tasked with the job of cementing cooperation between the two Nile Basin Arab states - from a joint ministerial cooperation committee to a presidential committee they personally co-chair, and pledged to strengthen and develop bilateral relations to serve the common interests of the two countries.

Egypt used to be represented in the committee in the past by its prime minister, while Sudan was represented by its vice-president.

“The” time has come to strengthen Egyptian-Sudanese relations in all fields,” Bashir said, while al-Sisi added “it is necessary to establish complementary relationships for the benefit of the two countries”.

Abdel-Halim said Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri would pay a visit to the Sudanese capital Khartoum within days to prepare with his Sudanese counterpart, Ali al-Karti, for the next meetings of the committee, slated for later this year.

Sisi and Bashir discussed the outcome of negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on a multibillion dollar dam being built by the later country over the Nile, the Sudanese ambassador said.

He said the two presidents expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of these negotiations, describing them as "positive."

Abdel-Halim said Sisi and al-Bashir also discussed developments in neighbouring Libya, expressing hopes that Libya's neighbouring countries would play a role in bringing stability back to the restive country.

They also called for launching dialogue among different political forces in Libya, Abdel-Halim said of the Egyptian and Sudanese presidents.

Bashir arrived in Cairo earlier on Saturday in the company of five of his government ministers.

He is expected to spend two days in the Egyptian capital.

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