Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi talks to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as they arrive to attend the 23rd African Union Summit (AUS) in Malabo June 26, 2014. African leaders called on Thursday for firm action against a rising Islamist militant threat stretching across the continent from Kenya to Mali and pledged to furnish the tools for Africa to police its own conflicts. REUTERS/The Egyptian Presidency
CAIRO, June 27 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt and Ethiopia will form a joint committee to discuss bilateral relations and regional affairs, the state news agency MENA reported on Friday.
Egyptian-Ethiopian relations have been strained after Ethiopia announced in May 2013 that it will divert the Blue Nile’s course to build a dam generating hydro-electric energy.
At a press conference in Malabo, Egypt's foreign minister and his Ethiopian counterpart jointly said that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the Ethiopian Prime Minister confirmed their countries' commitment to cooperation and mutual respect.
The two parties also said that both Egypt and Ethiopia have agreed to prepare for a committee meeting within three months, the foreign ministers said.
"The two countries have emphasised the centrality of the Nile as a main source of life for Egyptians and the awareness of the Ethiopians' developmental needs," they added.
The Ethiopian dam issue has raised Egypt and Sudan's fears as the dam may affect Egypt's share of the Nile water and decrease the energy generated by the High Dam.