Egypt and Somalia presidents discuss GERD dispute, Red Sea security

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received his Somali counterpart, Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, in Cairo on Monday.

During their meeting, both leaders affirmed their mutual interest in advancing bilateral cooperation and working together to consolidate security and stability in the Horn of Africa.

During a joint press conference, Al-Sisi said that the discussions also touched on the developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue, and the two sides agreed on the danger of unilateral policies when undertaking projects on transboundary rivers. 

They also stressed the imperative of adhering to the principle of cooperation and prior consultation with the riparian countries, to ensure no harm to any of the parties involved, in line with the relevant rules of international law, and then the need to reach -without delay- a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD based on the statement issued by the UN Security Council in September 2021 in order to preserve regional security and stability.

Al-Sisi said that the Egyptian-Somali relations were characterized by the multiplicity of tributaries, within the framework of common interests, stressing Egypt’s support for efforts to enhance peace and security in Somalia, and to eliminate terrorism in an effort to achieve the desired development in this brotherly country. 

He also affirmed Egypt’s support to Somalia to overcome the current challenges and achieve the aspirations of the Somali people towards a better future that would lead to the return of Somalia, to assume its position, as an active and influential member in the Horn of Africa, and on the Arab and continental levels.

The president said that his talks with the Somali president reflected the extent of the convergence of views between the two countries, on many bilateral and regional files and issues of common interest, as they reviewed all aspects of existing cooperation between the two countries and how to develop them, to rise to the level of bilateral political relations, which extend between our two countries.

Al-Sisi further explained that the discussions witnessed an exchange of views and visions on the overall regional situation in the Horn of Africa, which received a great priority during the discussions. They agreed to work together to consolidate security and stability in the region of strategic importance in our continent, in addition to intensifying cooperation and coordination between Egypt and Somalia, with regard to the security of the Red Sea.

For his part, the Somali president said that his country is grateful for Egypt’s support, stressing the appreciation of efforts aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. He added that the Egyptians paid their lives for the independence of Somalia, and that Egypt and Somalia are deeply linked in all fields.

The Somali president indicated that the problems that his country faced over the past decades had a great position to solve. He explained that today’s talks with President Al-Sisi reflected the rapprochement in the two countries’ views.