Cairo ( Associated Press) – Egypt’s president hosted his Djiboutian counterpart on Monday for talks on improving ties and a controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on a main tributary of the Nile, which Egypt considers an existential threat. ,
Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh arrived in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Sunday. He was received at the airport by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Guelleh’s visit comes more than eight months after al-Sisi made a rare visit to the strategic Horn of the African nation.
El-Sisi was the first Egyptian leader to visit Djibouti since the declaration of independence in 1977. It was part of Egypt’s efforts to form a more African alliance during an ongoing water dispute with Ethiopia, which borders Djibouti.
The Egyptian leader reiterated his country’s demand for a legally binding deal on filling and operating Ethiopia’s huge reservoir of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Al-Sisi said such a deal should happen within a convenient time to help “strengthen regional security and stability”.
Dam dispute talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan stalled in April last year. Both Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly called on the international community to help reach a legally binding agreement that will explain how the dam is to be operated and filled.
International and regional efforts to revive talks amid the Tigre civil war in Ethiopia have attempted without success.
The leaders of Egypt and Djibouti also discussed the security of the Red Sea and the strategic Horn of Africa, al-Sisi said without elaborating.
Guelleh described the talks as “constructive and fruitful”, saying they discussed ways to “strengthen and develop our bilateral ties at all levels”.
The two leaders spoke at a televised news conference. But none of the presidents took any questions from the journalists.