By: Ahmed Imbabi
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will begin a two-day state visit to Sudan on Thursday, to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common interest with the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. It is the fifth visit of El-Sisi to Khartoum since he became the president.
As part of an African tour that included Algeria and Equatorial Guinea, the first country he visited after taking office was Sudan, in June 2014. Moreover, this is also the first visit to Khartoum in his second presidential term.
According to the Sudanese newspapers, the two leaders will hold a presidential summit in the presidential palace in the presence of ministers of irrigation, water, electricity and foreign affairs. As they will discuss the bilateral relations between Khartoum and Cairo, the water issue will top the agenda of the summit. Furthermore, the two leaders will review the implementation of the agreements concluded between the two sides as well as the regional and international issues.
The visit will be added to the series of meetings held between the two presidents, Sudanese Ambassador to Egypt, Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, said.
Abdel Halim noted that the Sudanese-Egyptian summit will discuss efforts to strengthen the relations between the two countries in various realms. He added that the two presidents will also review the outcome of the recent bilateral cooperation meetings during the African summit in Addis Ababa, Bashir's visit to Egypt, and the quartet meeting between foreign ministers and heads of intelligence in both countries.
Areas of joint cooperation
During the last visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Cairo, his discussions with President El-Sisi resulted in a number of important issues and agreements, the most important of which are the following:
-The two presidents agreed to work together to protect the national security of both countries, which would raise the level of bilateral cooperation and coordination to the highest level, reflecting the importance of the two countries' relations.
"We also agreed to look for wider horizons for cooperation, consultation and coordination in various fields and issues of mutual interest," the president said.
- Activating the various joint mechanisms between the two countries, including a special committee for trade promotion, a high joint technical authority for Nile water committee, a military committee, a border crossings committee, and a committee for political consultations at the level of ministers of foreign affairs.
- Holding these joint committees on a regular basis in a way that ensures dual benefits for both countries and overcomes any concerns or challenges.
-Enhancing cooperation in areas of energy, electrical interconnection, land, air and sea transport, infrastructure projects, as well as benefiting from the advisory and executive experts in both countries.
- Starting preparations for holding joint committee under the chairmanship of the presidents of the two countries during the current year in Khartoum in October, as the last committee was held in October 2016.
The mutual visits between El-Sisi and his Sudanese counterpart reflect the importance of joint cooperation on several issues and the necessity of bilateral coordination between the two countries to face the threat of terrorism. The two presidents exchanged visits more than once.
Reflecting the vision of the Egyptian state, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was keen, since he took office in June 2014, to visit Sudan during his first foreign tour. He visited Khartoum on June,27, 2014 on his way back from Equatorial Guinea after attending the AU summit.
The next visit was the most important one, as it took place on March 23, 2015. During this visit, El-Sisi participated in the Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian tripartite summit on the Renaissance Dam, to sign the Declaration of the Renaissance Dam Principles Charter.
The third visit of the president took place on June 2, 2015, to congratulate the Sudanese president on his re-election for a new term. Furthermore, the fourth visit was on October 9, 2016, to participate in the conclusion of the Sudanese National Dialogue Conference in Khartoum, while tomorrow's visit will mark the fifth of these visits.
In return, the Sudanese President had paid more than visit to Cairo, He visited Egypt in October 2014, while the second one took place in March 2015, when he participated in the economic conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. Al Bashir has also visited Egypt at the end of March 2015, to attend the Arab summit meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh. Bashir's fourth visit took place in February 2016, to participate in Africa 2016 Forum in Sharm El Sheikh. In addition, he visited Egypt for the fifth time to participate in the Africa Investment Forum in June 2016. The Sudanese President had paid another visit in October 2016, in which he participated in the first session of the joint high committee at the presidential level in Cairo, while the last visit was in March.