‘A Return to African roots’ – Egyptian delegation in Addis Ababa [News Roundup]

A 48 person delegation named “Egyptian People’s Diplomatic Delegation” arrived in Addis Ababa on Friday morning to discuss Nile water issues.

The composition and itinerary of this landmark visit is nowhere to be found. Typically of the poor transparency, perhaps also media, in Egypt and Ethiopia.Egypt peoples' diplomatic delegation arrival in Addis Ababa Bole Airport April-29-2011

Duration of the visit: four or five days [4 days, acc. to ETV, five days, acc. to Walta]

Composition: The delegation is headed by Moustafa El Gendy and comprises three presidential candidates, independent political activists, representatives of different political parties and movements, members of parliament, politicians, jurists, public figures, members of the academia, media representatives and members of the Youth Movement of the Egyptians Revolution former parliament members, community leaders, journalists from Egypt and other Arab countries and other public figures from Egypt.

The delegation is expected to meet with several Ethiopian officials, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Foreign Affairs Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and religious leaders.

According to one source, this is the ‘same team’ that went to Uganda last month shortly after Ethiopia launched the Grand Renaissance dam.

Purpose of the visit:

‘The arrival of the delegation will only aim to strengthen relations between the two countries’,  Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dina Mufti, told Walta on Friday.

On the other hand, said, ‘the main objective of the visit is to facilitate Egypt’s return to its African root’, as this is ‘the only way to secure Egypt’s interests’, said Moustafa El Gendy, head of the delegation, and Dr. Sally Moore(Moore), who is member of the Youth Revolution, according to ETV.

On Friday

President Girma Woldegiorgis and Egypt peoples' diplomatic delegation at the National palace April 30-2011

Members of the delegation made statements to the media in the VIP lobby of Bole international Airport where a music band performed traditional dances in their honor.

Members of the delegation said there should be a ‘joint utilization’ of Nile,  ETV reported. They also noted the need for a ‘new cooperation’ on the use of Nile.

A footage on ETV showed two youth members of the delegation speaking against the ‘historic right’ argument and emphasizing equitable utilization is a human right issue – which is the cause of Egyptian revolution.

According to Ethiopian-reporter, Mustafa El-Gendy said ‘the right of upper-riparian countries to use Nile should be seen in the context of human rights’. He added, ‘Egyptians are opposed to the 1929 and 1959 treaties as they excluded the upper-riparian countries’. The news didn’t specify where and to whom Mustafa El-Gendy made the statement.

On Saturday

The delegation met first with President Girma Woldegiorgis, then with Abadula Gemeda, Spokesperson of the House of Peoples’ representatives, later with Kassa Tekleberhan, Spokesperson of House of Federation, on Saturday.

It is reported that President Grima called for renewing relations between Egypt and Ethiopia “within partnership, friendship, and without aggression.” He reassured that “the Ethiopians are peaceful people” and “love peace and respect Egyptians,” during his meeting with the delegates.

Mustafa and Abadula Gemeda – Blame transfer and expressions of good faith

Spokesperson Abadula Gemeda and Egypt peoples' diplomatic delegation at Ethiopian Parliament April 30-2011

Mustafa El-Gendy said, “if we get united today, we will have a better future for our children”. “We are back to Africa we have lost during the previous regime”.

Abadula Gemeda ‘expressed regrets that the previous Egyptian government under Hosni Mubarak resorted to intimidation and uncooperative behavior while Ethiopia chose the path of dialogue and partnership for a win-win solution that benefits all the countries involved.’

The delegation said, Ethiopia is entitled to a fair use of Nile, as she is its main source. They expressed their belief that Ethiopia wouldn’t act in a manner that harms the Egyptian people whose livelihood is dependent in Nile waters, according to ETV.

Abadula Gemeda, on his part said, “the delegates have told us that they will not object Ethiopia’s developmental projects,”…..“we have also reassured them that Ethiopia’s project[the new dam] will cause no damage on any of the riparian countries including Egypt”. He noted, ‘it is of great interest to Ethiopia that Egyptians endorsed the idea of shared use’., according to ETV.

Mustafa and Kassa Tekleberhane – Nice words and advice:

Mustafa El-Gendy said, ‘We shall refrain from fanning the flames of animosity between the two people. Jointly, the two people can play a big role. Let’s cooperate them and work on the values that unitesthem.’

Kassa Tekleberhan, Spokesperson of the House of Federation, praised the delegation for its effort to bring the two countries closer and noted that participating in the Nile Basin Framework advances Egypt’s interest.

APA reported, citing an interview on ETV(?), that:

Dr. Sally Moore said the Mubarak administration separated Egypt from other African countries. According to her, the aim of the visit is to display Egypt’s commitment to re-establish and strengthen diplomatic ties with African countries. A majority of the youth, who participated in the revolution to overthrow Mubarak, support Ethiopia’s right to develop and exploit the river, she said.

Son of the late President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Hakim Abdel-Nasser on his part said the delegation is here to discuss with Ethiopians on the equal utilization of the Nile.

Daniel Berhane

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