Egypt and Sudan sign cooperation agreements, highlight need for free trade

Wednesday 05-10-2016 02:18 PM

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Oct.18,2014. ASWATMASRIYA

CAIRO, Oct 5 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir signed a "comprehensive strategic partnership" document along with other agreements on Wednesday at the Presidential Palace in Cairo.

Sisi inaugurated on Wednesday the first round of the presidential-level committee between Egypt and Sudan "in an effort to consolidate partnership in all fields."

Cooperation agreements include agreements on higher education, the state-owned Al-Ahram website reported.

In his speech, Sisi praised Egyptian-Sudanese bilateral relations and called for launching a "comprehensive strategic partnership" between both states in an attempt to achieve "advancement and development."  

The Egyptian president also affirmed the need to remove the obstacles standing in the way of free trade between Egypt and Sudan.

"The free movement of goods and the full liberalisation of trade come in the context of efforts to activate the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)," Sisi said.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir asserted the economic and trade benefits of commercial crossings connecting Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt and Sudan are both Nile Basin countries. Among the pressing issues affecting their relations is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which has almost reached completion.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been in talks for years, in attempt to mitigate any potential harmful effects inflicted by the dam.

The trio commissioned two firms late September to conduct studies into the dam's environmental and economic impact.

In December 2015 tripartite talks, the three groups signed the "Khartoum Document," which stipulated a mechanism for resolving GERD related issues, and set a time frame of eight months to a year to complete the technical studies. 

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