Geopolitics: Sisi’s strategic manoeuvres in an Attempt to bring East Africa to Egypt’s side

Date: November 15, 2021

The East African

NOVEMBER 13 2021

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan this week visited Egypt for three days at the invitation of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, where she sought further co-operation with Cairo on various sectors, including infrastructure, energy, health and agriculture.

Although the visit seemed largely business-driven, it signalled the growing influence of the Egyptian strongman in the region as he seeks more allies in the battle with Ethiopia for the Nile waters.

According to Horn of Africa experts, Egypt’s aggressive outreach in eastern Africa mainly relates to efforts to recover lost diplomatic ground and to ensure that it has good relations with the upstream riparian states.

During the reign of Meles Zenawi in Addis, the Egyptians were largely isolated and outmanoeuvred in the region after Mr Meles built up a large coalition in favour of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (Gerd): For the Sisi administration, reversing the isolation has been a principal goal.

Egypt is now keen on having the East African Community members, who also form the Nile Basin states and are signatories to the 2010 Co-operative Framework Agreement (CFA), also known as the Entebbe Agreement, in its corner. The CFA was signed by six of the 10 Nile Basin Initiative states, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi. Cairo did not recognise it.

The Egyptian leader seems to have chosen soft power, fostering more trade, military and infrastructure co-operation with the target countries, to achieve his goal.

This week, the Gerd was top on the agenda of talks between presidents Sisi and Samia, who agreed to “increase coordination” between Egypt and Tanzania on the issue, according to a communique from the Egyptian presidency.

At a joint press conference, President Sisi said Egypt is looking to secure its water rights through a fair and legally binding agreement with Ethiopia. He said he is seeking a deal in accordance with international law and the UN Security Council’s directive in September, for resumption of talks between the protagonists, Ethiopia on the one hand, and Egypt and Sudan on the other.

President Sisi said that an agreement on the GERD would “boost security and stability for all countries in the region and open new horizons for co-operation between Nile Basin countries”.

President Samia welcomed the participation of Egypt in Tanzania’s ambitious development plan, including the $2.9 billion Julius Nyerere dam on River Rufiji being constructed by two Egyptian companies in partnership with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

While Egyptian diplomats would not be drawn into a discussion on Cairo’s plan for East Africa (questions to them went unanswered), President Sisi was explicit that the Tanzania project “is an example of Egypt’s support for the rights of Nile Basin countries to make the best use of their water resources in a way that does not impact other countries”.

In January 2018, Egypt and Tanzania signed a contract to establish the $2.9 billion project expected to generate 2,115MW of power. Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and El-Sewedy Electric, started construction mid-2019, and the project is scheduled to be complete by 2022.

The project includes construction of the concrete part of the main dam, in addition to four complementary dams that form the water reservoir with a capacity of 33 billion cubic metres, and a hydroelectric power generation station.

Experts say that President Sisi’s soft power approach in the Gerd question is informed by the realisation that the project can no longer be stopped by sabre-rattling. Ethiopia has continued developing the dam and is determined to complete it, and Cairo may not count on its allies, America and the Gulf states, on this matter.

For the US and Europe, Ethiopia is the central partner in East Africa on the war on terror. Kenya is another.

In spite of its criticism over a poor human-rights record, the US has been an ally of President Sisi, with former president Donald Trump once referring to him as his “favourite dictator”. Last February, the US State Department approved the sale of about $200-million worth of missiles to the Egyptian military, according to the Washington Post.

Every year, for almost a decade, the US Secretary of State has waived provisions of a law that conditions the release of $300 million in Egyptian military aid on significant human rights progress there — part of the total $1.3 billion of foreign military financing Washington gives Cairo each year.

According to the Post, officials said $170 million will be given to Egypt under an exception in the law for items related to counterterrorism, border security and non-proliferation items. Activists want the Biden administration to shelve the plan. The Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have economic interests in the Ethiopian agricultural sector and import food from the region. So, political pressure on Addis Ababa to abandon its water infrastructure expansion cannot be expected from those quarters, say Tobias von Lossow and Stephan Roll of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in their paper Egypt’s Nile Water Policy under Sisi: Security Interests Promote Rapprochement with Ethiopia.

There is therefore little mileage for Egypt in internationalisation of the conflict, they say. That leaves the negotiating table.

“By taking a moderate line on the Nile issue, Sisi hopes to open bilateral relations [with Addis] in other policy areas. In recent months, Egypt has repeatedly pointed to the potential for intensifying economic co-operation. And at least since 2010, an increase in trade and investment flows has been observed. Politically influential Egyptian corporations like Qalaa Holdings and El-Sewedy Electric have made significant investments in Ethiopia and are therefore likely to be lobbying in Cairo for an easing of political relations,” the two experts say.

Strong ties
Egypt and Tanzania have had strong ties since 1964, according to Egypt’s State Information Service. On the political level, Tanzania under Jakaya Kikwete expressed its support for the June 30, 2013 revolution that opposed the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. Tanzania, represented by then-Foreign Minister Bernard Membe, also participated in President Sisi’s inauguration ceremony in June 2014, and President Sisi’s visit to Tanzania in August 2017 constituted a turning point in their relations as it was the first visit of an Egyptian official since 1967. He had visited Kenya earlier the same year.

President Sisi has instructed Arab Contractors and El-Sewedy to complete the Julius Nyerere dam and hydropower station and deliver quality work. His interest in the project is not lost on observers amid the stalled Gerd negotiations. Ethiopia considers the dam a crucial project for achieving economic development. Egypt fears the GERD will affect its share of the Nile River, which supplies it with more than 90 percent of its potable water and irrigation needs.

The dispute earlier this year went to the UN Security Council, as the two countries sought to secure international support to pressure Addis to resolve the issue that has been stoking regional security concerns, but negotiations remain stalled. This month, Ethiopia is expected to start the third-stage filling of the Gerd, but the ongoing political crisis could affect the preparations, giving Sudan and Egypt relief — for now.

Egypt has been cited as a shadow in the crises in the Horn of Africa, especially in Ethiopia — and even Sudan. Magdi el-Gizouli, a Sudanese analyst at the Rift Valley Institute, says Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have backed the coup makers in Sudan led by Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. In 2013, the two Gulf monarchies played a pivotal role in shoring up the regime of President Sisi. Experts say that any hope for restoring Sudan’s democratic prospects may require exerting pressure on the Arab powers.

“The Gulf monarchies and Egypt, which of all outside powers have forged the tightest links with Burhan and the military, should urge authorities to exercise restraint rather than resort to indiscriminate force,” the International Crisis Group recently said in a policy note.

The two Arab nations have since joined the US in condemning the military takeover of power on October 25, which interrupted a fragile transition to democracy in which power was shared with a civilian arm led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was deposed, detained and then placed under house arrest.

Tigray crisis
But Cairo is also fighting off allegations of having a hand in the Tigray crisis in northern Ethiopia, which is threatening to dislodge reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from power. In 2016 and this year, Addis pointed an accusing finger at Egypt for backing rebels, allegations that Cairo denies.

In October, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Egypt Markos Tekle announced the closure of the embassy in Cairo for “the next three to six months to reduce costs”.

He said the decision had nothing to do with the longstanding dispute Ethiopia has had with Egypt and Sudan over the dam. In July, Ethiopia filled the dam for the second time, amid warnings by Cairo and Khartoum.

The Gerd has been at the centre of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground in 2011. Egypt and Sudan view the project as a threat because of their dependence on the Nile waters, while Ethiopia deems it essential for its electrification and development. The $4.2 billion dam is expected to produce more than 5,000MW of power, making it Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam and more than doubling Ethiopia’s electricity output.

Ethiopia had initially planned output of around 6,500MW, but later reduced its target.

Addisu Lashitew of the Brookings Institution in Washington said the dam is a unifying symbol.

“It’s one of the very few things that bring together people from all walks of life in Ethiopia,” he told the Washington Post. “Definitely the government will try to extract some political value from the second filling.”

Talks held under the auspices of the AU have failed to yield a three-way agreement on the dam, and Cairo and Khartoum have demanded that Addis Ababa cease filling the massive reservoir until such a deal is reached.

But Ethiopian officials have argued that filling it is a part of the construction process and cannot be stopped.

The UN Security Council met earlier in July to discuss the project, but Ethiopia dismissed the session as an “unhelpful” distraction from the AU-led process.

The two German scholars, Mr Lossow and Mr Roll, say in no way does President Sisi’s change of strategy mean an end to the conflict over distribution and use of the Nile water resources.

“Any impression that Egypt under President Sisi might be more constructive in this question than under Hosni Mubarak or Mohamed Morsi is misleading. The current Egyptian rapprochement with Ethiopia is occurring within the arena of Gerd, while the broader conflict over the fundamental distribution of the Nile waters remains,” they say.

Egypt claims a historic right to the Nile dating from a 1929 treaty that gave it veto power over construction projects along the river. A 1959 treaty boosted Egypt’s allocation to around 66 percent of the river’s flow, with 22 percent for Sudan. Ethiopia was not party to those treaties and does not see them as valid.

In 2010, Nile basin countries, excluding Egypt and Sudan, signed another deal, the Co-operative Framework Agreement, which allows projects on the river without Cairo’s agreement.

Earlier this year, President Sisi extended his charm offensive to Uganda, where the Nile begins. The two states signed a military intelligence sharing agreement on April 8, against the backdrop of rising tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia.

“The fact that Uganda and Egypt share the Nile, co-operation between the two countries is inevitable because what affects Ugandans will in one way or other affect Egypt,” Maj-Gen Sameh Saber El-Degwi, a top Egyptian intelligence official who headed Cairo’s delegation to Kampala, was quoted in a statement by the Ugandan military as saying.

Support from Kenya
Later the same month, Egypt sought Kenya’s support for its stance on the Gerd, as Kenya is Africa’s representative at the UN Security Council.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on April 19 met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and told him that Egypt hoped an agreement on the dam could be reached “that preserves the security and stability of the region”.

An Egyptian government statement indicated “Egypt’s readiness to support development projects in Kenya in areas that constitute a priority for Kenya”.

Egypt has influence and presence in Kenya commercially. There is also joint military co-operation between the two countries. Exports between Kenya and Egypt have been rising in recent years. Egypt’s exports to Kenya were $348 million in 2019, according to a report by the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics released in November 2020. In January 2017, Egypt granted Kenya $5.5 million within the framework of a co-operation agreement ratified by Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati during a visit to Nairobi.

In February 2017, President Sisi visited Nairobi and met with President Kenyatta. In March 2020, during a phone call with President Sisi, President Kenyatta announced Kenya’s support for Egypt’s stance in the dam negotiations, according to the Egyptian presidency.

In October 2020, President Kenyatta visited Cairo and President Sisi was quoted as saying that Egypt “trusts Kenya’s ability to fully represent the African continent at the Security Council as it is a voice that defends African issues”.

But it’s not just East Africa where Sisi is seeking clout on the continent. The Egyptian leader is in Paris this weekend to attend a conference on Libya and to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, according to a statement released on Thursday by the Egyptian presidency.

The conference is being organised with the UN, Germany and Italy, and comes head of elections planned in Libya on December 24.

Egypt is eyeing economic opportunities in Libya, and has re-established a presence in Tripoli. It has called for the elections to go ahead despite disputes among Libyan factions. Egypt supported eastern Libya-based forces under military commander Khalifa Haftar after a previous vote in 2014 escalated a conflict and effectively split the country between rival eastern and western camps.

Field-marshal who became president

Born in 1954, al-Sisi was raised in al-Gamaliya, in an alleyway that lies on the edge of the Jewish quarter of Cairo’s old city. “I was born and raised in an area with immense cultural diversity… and I used to see the synagogue in the Jewish quarter,” al-Sisi later recalled in a TV interview. Although he was never in active combat, three wars between Egypt and Israel broke out during his lifetime. Egypt fought three wars with Israel in his early years, the last of which was in 1973, when he was 19. Upon graduating from the military academy in 1977, al-Sisi married his maternal cousin Entissar Amer. They have three sons and a daughter. al-Sisi continued his military training at the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College in 1992 and received a master’s degree from the US Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2006. After serving as security chief at the military attache office in Saudi Arabia, el-Sisi returned to Egypt in 2008 as chief of staff of the northern military zone. In February 2011, shortly after the Egyptian revolution, a military council assumed control of the country and appointed al-Sisi as the head of military intelligence. In 2012, elected President Mohamed Morsi appointed al-Sisi minister of defence and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. One year later, he toppled the president. al-Sisi’s ascent to power came about in 2013, during massive anti-Morsi protests planned for June 30.

Amid calls for President Morsi to step down, al-Sisi issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the president to “meet the demands owf the people,” or call for early elections. Citing electoral legitimacy, Morsi proposed to form a new consensus government, but the military nonetheless went ahead and deposed him once the deadline expired on July 3. On July 3, in a pivotal statement in Egyptian politics, al-Sisi announced the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, the temporary suspension of the constitution, and the appointment of a judge as temporary president until new elections were held. Although al-Sisi promised to guarantee freedom of expression, the military-backed interim government went on to outlaw all activities and organisations related to the former president’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and embarked on a campaign of arresting and silencing its supporters.

Egypt president in Djibouti to forge ties amid Nile dispute

DJIBOUTI/EGYPT/ETHIOPIA : Sisi tries containment tactics against Abiy's  Renaissance dam - 17/06/2021 - Africa Intelligence

Associated Press

27 May 2021

Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s visit to the Horn of Africa nation is the first by an Egyptian president since Djibouti declared independence in 1977.

El-Sissi and Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh agreed that the Ethiopian dam should be filled and operated according to “a fair and binding legal agreement” that could maintain regional stability and preserve the interests of all parties, el-Sissi’s office said in a statement.

“I stressed Egypt’s opposition to any attempt to impose a reality on the ground through unilateral decisions that do not consider the interests and the rights of the river’s two downstream countries,” said el-Sissi in reference to Egypt and Sudan in a joint news conference from Djibouti.

The visit comes amid mounting tension between Egypt and Sudan on one hand and Ethiopia on the other, over Ethiopia’s $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, a main tributary of the Nile River.

Egypt and Sudan fear that the Ethiopian reservoir would affect their water shares, especially in times of drought.

El-Sissi also hailed his talks with Guelleh “as constructive and fruitful,” explaining that both leaders had discussed ways to improve political, economic and military cooperation.

Both leaders also stressed their “strategic partnership” on fighting terror in the Horn of Africa and underscored their cooperation over security issues in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, said the statement issued by the Egyptian President’s office.

Amani el-Taweel, an expert on Africa at Egypt’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that a “rapprochement between Egypt and Djibouti is crucial” in order to “prevent Djibouti from taking Ethiopia’s side.”

“Lately, Egypt has been seeking to build good relations with all Nile Basin countries and countries overlooking the Red Sea,” she said. “Such two regions have to do with Egypt’s two most important national security issues, including the Nile River and the Suez Canal.”

Nile dispute talks with Ethiopia stalled in April; international and regional efforts have since tried to revive the negotiations without success.

In March, el-Sissi warned Egypt’s share of the Nile was “untouchable” and that there would be “instability that no one can imagine” if Ethiopia fills the reservoir without an international agreement.

Egypt and Sudan argue that Ethiopia’s plan to add 13.5 billion cubic meters of water in 2021 to the dam’s reservoir is a threat to them. Egypt has been seeking a legally binding agreement that would spell out how the dam is operated and filled, based on international law and norms governing cross-border rivers.

On Monday, President Joe Biden acknowledged Egypt’s concerns about access to Nile water and stressed his administration’s interest in reaching “a diplomatic resolution.”

Egypt relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies. Ethiopia says the $5 billion dam is essential, and that the vast majority of its population lacks electricity. Sudan wants Ethiopia to coordinate on the dam’s operation to protect its own power-generating dams on the Blue Nile.

The Blue Nile meets the White Nile in Khartoum, before winding northward through Egypt into the Mediterranean Sea.

Egyptian, Burundian army chiefs of staff sign military cooperation protocol

Egypt Today

Sat, 10 Apr 2021

CAIRO – 10 April 2021: Egyptian and Burundian army chieds of staff signed a military protocol that includes cooperation in the fields of training and joint exercise, as they met in Cairo on Saturday.

The Egyptian-Burundian cooperation protocol enables the two armies to exchange expertise and reflects the consensus in the visions of the two countries’ armies toward the issues of mutual concern, a statement by the Egyptian army spokesman said.

Prime Niyongabo, Burundi’s armed forces’ chief of staff have made an official visit to Egypt and met with Mohamed Farid, the Egyptian army’s chief of staff, on the fringe of the first meeting of the joint military committee for promoting bilateral cooperation.
During the meeting, Niyongabo said his country is keen to support military cooperation horizons with Egypt during the coming period.

Farid and Niyongabo discussed means to boost military cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Niyongabo voiced his appreciation of the firm historic relations between Egypt and Burundi and highlighted the consensus in the visions of the two countries’ political leaderships toward security and stability efforts in the region.

The meeting preceded a session between the Egyptian and Burundian accompanying delegations, during which they discussed the current situation and its regional and international reflections.
They also reviewed issues of mutual concern in light of the ongoing military cooperation between the two countries.

South Sudanese Vice-President: Relations with Egypt reached high levels

Egypt Today

Sun, 01 Aug 2021

CAIRO – 1 August 2021: The relations between Egypt and South Sudan had reached very high levels, said South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga in media remarks to Extra News on Saturday.

He added that his country agreed with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on enhancing cooperation in the fields of investment, electricity, water, health, education.

“We are ready for economic partnership with Egypt in various fields,” he said, adding that an international expo in Juba for Egyptian products, set to be held annually.

On July 27, 2021, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli emphasized Egypt’s full support for the efforts exerted by South Sudan to achieve peace across the country, build on what has been reached through the Revitalized Peace Agreement, and proceed with implementing the agreement provisions as regards the transitional phase.

Madbouli made the remarks during a joint press conference with South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga in Cairo at the conclusion of the first session talks of the Egyptian-South Sudanese higher committee, which was attended by high-level ministerial delegations from the two sides.

Egypt, Sudan agree to enhance military cooperation

Egypt Independent

November 3, 2020

The Egyptian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mohamed Farid met with Sudanese officials in Khartoum to talk ways of enhancing military and security cooperation between the two countries.

Farid returned to Cairo on Monday, along with his accompanying delegation, to discuss further aspects of Egypt-Sudan cooperation.

Both sides agreed to bolster joint work in rehabilitation, training, border security, combating terrorism, and military industries.

While in Khartoum, Farid met with the Sudanese Defense Minister Yasin Ibrahim and the Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces Mohamed Othman al-Hussein.

They discussed issues of common interest, means of supporting military cooperation relations, joint exercises, and the transfer and exchange of military expertise.

Farid stressed the importance of developing areas of cooperation between the armed forces of Egypt and Sudan.

He explained that there was firm agreement on formulating a joint strategy to achieve the interests of both nations and that what was agreed upon during the talks fulfills the security, stability and development desires of the two countries.

The Sudanese Defense Minister emphasized the deep bonds between his country and Egypt, and the congruence of views towards the security challenges facing the region.

And the Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces said that what was agreed upon during the meetings is a real move forward in strategic relations between the two countries.

Rwanda, Egypt seek to enhance military cooperation



The Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen Mohamed Farid has been on a visit to Rwanda from May 27 to 29, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense.

The statement issued on Saturday, May 29 indicates that Lt. Gen Mohamed Farid and his delegation held bilateral discussions with the RDF Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Jean Bosco Kazura at Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) Headquarters in Kimihurura, Kigali.

Discussions were centered on enhancing the existing military cooperation, according to the statement, which added that Farid also paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Defense, Maj General Albert Murasira.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Chief of Staff also paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial before his departure due today.

Rwanda and Egypt have been working on ways to strengthen bilateral ties and further mutual interests in economy and trade, as well as defense and security.

Rwanda has been sending some students to Egypt for military courses.

Uganda says it has signed security agreement with Egypt amid tensions over Ethiopia dam

Uganda-Egypt sign military cooperation pact - Nile Post


THU APR 8, 2021

(Reuters) – Uganda and Egypt have signed a military intelligence sharing agreement, the east African country said late on Wednesday, against a backdrop of rising tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia over a hydropower dam on a tributary of the Nile river.

According to a statement by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), the agreement was signed between UPDF’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and the Egyptian Intelligence Department.

“The fact that Uganda and Egypt share the Nile, cooperation between the two countries is inevitable because what affects Ugandans will in one way or other affect Egypt,” Maj. Gen. Sameh Saber El-Degwi, a top Egyptian intelligence official who headed Cairo’s delegation to Kampala, was quoted in the UPDF statement as saying.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned of the risk of conflict over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the Nile.

Ethiopia is banking on the dam to boost its power generation capacity and fuel economic development but Egypt fears the project will imperil its fresh water supplies.

Sudan is also concerned about the impact on its own water flows.

Uganda, where the Nile begins, has historically opposed Egypt’s attempts to exercise control over hydropower projects in upstream countries.

The two countries, according to the agreement, will now “share resourceful intelligence on a regular basis.”

Egypt signs military deal with Kenya amid escalating tensions with Ethiopia

Egypt, Kenya sign Technical Agreement on Defence Cooperation - Daily News  Egypt
Egypt's chief of staff visits Kenya, Rwanda, signs cooperation agreement -  EgyptToday

June 1, 2021


CAIRO — Kenya’s Minister of Defense Monica Juma announced May 26 the signing of a military cooperation agreement with Egypt, during a meeting with a high-ranking Egyptian military delegation headed by Chief-of-Staff Gen. Mohamed Farid in Nairobi.

The Egyptian army confirmed the agreement in a May 30 statement, noting the Farid had met with his Kenyan counterpart Robert Kibochi, with whom he co-chaired the closing session of the Egyptian-Kenyan Military Committee’s meeting in Nairobi. Farid then traveled to Rwanda for further discussions on regional security.

The Kenyan Ministry of Defense said that the agreement aims at “deepening partnership [between the two countries] in matters of mutual benefit.”

This is the fourth agreement that Egypt signs with countries in the Nile Basin region in 2021 alone. It signed a defense agreement with Sudan in March, one in April with Uganda on exchanging military intelligence information, and another in April with Burundi.

Abbas Sharaqi, professor of natural resources at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor that these agreements reflect Egypt’s efforts to bolster its security relations with the “ring countries” around Ethiopia to protect its water interests in the Nile Basin region.

In a May 28 lecture at the National Defense College in Kenya, during a training course on how armies respond to risks and threats — in the presence of delegations from nine countries, including Egypt’s — Juma said that the national security environment is evolving and unpredictable. “Importantly, the cohort [training course] included course participants from nine allied countries. We will continue to strengthen these invaluable relations,” she added.

The pace of cooperation between Egypt and Kenya has grown in recent years. The two countries held a round of political consultations April 12, followed April 19 by a visit by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Nairobi to discuss the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in addition to cooperation in the fields of health, agriculture and livestock.

Maj. Gen. Yahya Kadwani, a member of the Defense and National Security Committee at the Egyptian parliament, told Al-Monitor that since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi assumed power, he has been successfully trying to restore relations with African countries, just as they were during the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian leader who united the African peoples seeking peace and freedom.

Since Sisi took power in 2014, he has focused on Africa after Egypt was affected by Cairo’s absence from the continent since the 1990s, as part of efforts to improve Egypt’s image and strengthen its position in the GERD issue.

Kadwani said that Egypt’s security experience and reputation in combating terrorism made it an honest ally, which prompted many African countries to conclude agreements with it.

He noted that the African arena suffers from a large security vacuum that has been exploited by terrorist groups and regional powers sponsoring terrorism to tamper with the security and stability of the region, especially in Nigeria and Niger.

However, Sharaqi explained that although these agreements are required in normal circumstances to confront terrorism in Africa, they carry Egyptian messages addressed to Ethiopia primarily over the GERD issue.

Kadwani stressed, “Egypt does not fake positions and is known to be a sponsor of peace, and its position is clear. It is proceeding with caution and wisdom in order to solve the GERD crisis peacefully.”

He added, “For us [Egypt], the water issue is a matter of life and death, as Ethiopia tampers with our legitimate rights that are guaranteed by long-standing and binding agreements, and delays negotiations.”

On March 30, Sisi said that taking one drop from Egypt’s share of the Nile water would be crossing a red line, and that it would be met by a seismic response that would destabilize the entire region. Journalists close to the Egyptian regime also reported that Egypt might be forced to carry out a military blow against the dam if the negotiation process does not succeed.

“This is an extremely dangerous issue and there are pressures from all the Egyptian popular and political spectrum to take the necessary position to defend the national water security,” Kadwani noted.

He added, “Egypt does not want to resort to other methods [than negotiations], so it seeks alongside international partners to solve the crisis peacefully, and we hope that it will eventually lead to reaching an agreement.”

Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies stated May 28 that the recent rise of the Egyptian role in the Horn of Africa and the Nile Basin is not limited to the GERD issue alone, but rather to restore balance and stability to the region after Ethiopia’s moves there led to more civil and regional wars, as well as containing the negative influence of rival regional powers such as Turkey.

However, the recent agreements with African countries reflect a major shift in Cairo’s relationship with the Nile Basin countries since the Entebbe Agreement was signed in 2009. Kenya, Burundi and Uganda are among the countries that signed the agreement, while Egypt and Sudan refused to do so.

Sharaqi said that Ethiopia took advantage of Egypt’s absence from the African continent in the past years and imposed its influence on the countries of the Nile Basin, and wanted to involve them in the GERD crisis. The recent Egyptian moves are a strong message to Ethiopia and may lead to resolving the Entebbe Agreement differences, he added.

However, he believes this does not mean that the loyalty of these countries will shift toward Egypt against Ethiopia, but at least a balance can be achieved.

Mohammed Soliman, a senior associate at McLarty Associates, an advisory firm based in Washington, told Al-Monitor, “Cairo went on a charm offensive in key East African nations — Burundi, Kenya and Uganda — through military, intelligence and economic cooperation, to build its power projection in East Africa.”

He added, “Amid the growing tensions over the GERD dispute, Cairo developed a Nile strategy that is centered around realignment with Sudan and a web of economic and military alliances in East Africa and the Horn of Africa to provide Egypt with the ability to project influence in the Nile Basin.”

Soliman noted, “Egypt wants an agreement with Ethiopia and Sudan that would build trust and confidence and lay the foundations for broader cooperation on future development projects in the Nile Basin.”

Meanwhile, Sharaqi pointed out that concluding these agreements is not enough, and Egypt has to strengthen economic cooperation that has not yet reached the required level.

“In the past, Egypt had a pioneering role in liberating African countries from colonialism, but the new generations in these countries want development now and we have to offer it to them,” he concluded.

Egypt’s President Sisi pledges continuous support for DR Congo as current chair of African Union

Ahram Online

3 Oct 2021

Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi receives a written message from Jean Le on Ngandu, DR Congo s permanent representative to the African Union, in Cairo, 3 October 2021.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi affirmed on Sunday Egypt’s continuous support for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the current chair of the African Union (AU), and its efforts to fulfill its vital responsibilities in overseeing African issues. El-Sisi made his remarks in a meeting with Jean Léon Ngandu, the special envoy of the Congolese president and the DRC’s permanent representative to the AU, in Cairo, a statement by the Egyptian presidency read.

Ngandu handed El-Sisi a message from his Congolese counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi, expressing his deep appreciation of Egypt’s relentless support for the DRC within the framework of the Congolese presidency of the AU.

The Congolese envoy said that this support has stemmed from Egypt’s broad experience in multilateral work on the African level, the statement read.

Tshisekedi’s message hailed the friendly relations and brotherly ties connecting Egypt and the DRC and affirmed his keenness to support these ties on all levels.

On his part, El-Sisi asked the Congolese envoy to extend his greetings to Tshisekedi and hailed the DRC’s efforts regarding its current presidency of the AU.

The Egyptian president also pledged his support to the bilateral relations between the two countries as an extension of their distinguished historic relations that represent a model of cooperation and joint coordination inside the continent.

The meeting also discussed developments regarding a number of issues of mutual concern in Africa which represent a priority to the AU’s agenda currently, the statement said without further elaboration.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Tshibasu Mfuad, the chargé d’affaires of the Congolese embassy in Egypt, attended the meeting as well.

In mid-September, El-Sisi and Tshisekedi discussed bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern in a phone call, hailing the developmental cooperation both countries enjoy in the fields of infrastructure, digital transformation, building and construction, energy, water, and others.

Also in September, the DRC’s Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula embarked on an official visit to Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to discuss arrangements regarding the resumption of talks to resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute.

The three countries have conveyed their willingness to continue the AU-sponsored GERD talks that have ground to a halt since April after the UN Security Council issued a presidential statement earlier in September encouraging the three parties to return to the negotiation table to reach a deal


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3 thoughts on “Geopolitics: Sisi’s strategic manoeuvres in an Attempt to bring East Africa to Egypt’s side”

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  2. Vozol gear 10000, tek kullanımlık bir elektronik sigara cihazıdır. Bazı teknik özellikleri şunlardır:Pil kapasitesi: 500 mAh, E-likit kapasitesi: 20 ml, Nikotin gücü: 20 mg veya 50 mg, Maksimum nefes alma: 10000, Isıtma elemanı: Mesh bobin, Şarj: USB-C bağlantı noktası, LED gösterge ışığı, Çeşitli lezzet seçenekleri.Vozol gear 10000, yüksek performans, güvenlik ve inovasyon sunan bir cihazdır. VozolElektronikSigara

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