KHARTOUM (SUDANOW) The development of relations between peoples of various countries is one of the most important foundations for the enhancement of relations between countries on all the regional and international levels.
The relations between neighboring countries are of a special significance, particularly the countries of deep-rooted ties and common borders and interests, such as the Sudan and Ethiopia.
The people's diplomacy provides a proper and effective instrument for advancement of the bilateral relations.
An Ethiopian Public Diplomacy delegation headed by the Speaker of the Ethiopian House of Representatives (Parliament), Abdulla Gemeda, began on May 8 a five-day visit to Sudan.
The visit is aimed at supporting and further expanding the already excellent and longstanding government-to-government relations besides building cementing people-to-people links between the two countries.
The visiting delegation is made up of various components of the Ethiopian community, religious leaders, officials, academics, business people, artists, dignitaries and farmers.
Being aware of the importance of such visits, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Haile Meriam Desalegn personally met with the Public Diplomacy delegation before its departure to the Sudan in his office on May 7. He praised the members of the delegation for their commitment to upgrading ties with the people of Sudan. He emphasized that the development and stability of Ethiopia is intimately linked with the neighboring countries and his government, therefore, grants good neighbor ties a top priority in its foreign relations.
He asked the delegation to convey a message of Ethiopia's commitment for the acceleration of a people-driven economic and political integration within the Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU). Haile Meriam pointed out the excellent partnership between his country and Sudan in the political, diplomatic, security, economic and commercial spheres for the interests of both countries which he said:"share mutual vision and destiny," referring to Sudan's unwavering support to Ethiopia on the Nile water issue.
He wished the visit would be conducive to promotion of the brotherly relations between the peoples of the two countries.
The high-level 80-member-strong delegation, representing all walks of life in Ethiopia, visited Merowe Dam, some of the Sudanese historical and archeological sites and held meetings with their Sudanese counterparts, including Muslim and Christian religious leaders, the Speaker, the Foreign, Investment, and Electricity and Water Resources minister s, Khartoum State Governor, representatives of political parties and the Ethiopian community and concluded by meeting President Omar al-Beshir.
Earlier, the Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan, Abadi Zemo, in press statement he made after a meeting with the secretary general of the Sudan's Peoples' Friendship Council, noted that the visit was aimed at extending a message from the Ethiopian peoples to the Sudanese people on commitment by the Ethiopian government and people to achieving joint development, establishing strong relations and enhancing joint cooperation in all domains for the interest of the peoples of the two countries.
The visiting delegation was accorded a warm welcome at Khartoum airport with the participation of musical troupes and the Ethiopian community which turned up at the airport to receive the delegation which included a number of Ethiopian popular and folkloric troupes as well as artists and sports men and women.
"This is the first such huge single popular delegation to arrive in the Sudan, reflecting the
intimate ties between the two countries" said Sudanese Parliament Speaker Al-Fatih Izz al-Dinn.
Numerous African media outlets have closely covered the visit and the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to the visiting delegation and spotlighted to the remarkable progress in the bilateral relations between the two countries and peoples.
The Pan-African News Agency (PANA) highlighted the delegation's visit to Sudan, describing it as the "Rush popular diplomacy between Sudan and Ethiopia led by the Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament accompanied by more than 80 persons representing different popular leaderships."
"The Renaissance Dam will be a tool for combating poverty not only in the two countries but in the region at large," the two speakers concurred.
In a statement upon his arrival in Khartoum at the head of the delegation, the Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament said the objective of the visit was to cement the historic relations between the two countries and the two brotherly peoples of the Sudan and Ethiopia. He described those relations as eternal and indicated the existence of firm bonds linking the two countries in all spheres.
He pointed that the visit also seeks to shed light on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will be beneficial to the peoples, not only in Ethiopia but equally in the whole region, particularly in Egypt and the Sudan.
His Sudanese opposite number indicated that the Ethiopian delegation's visit would pave the way for distinguished relations between the two sisterly nations. It conveys a message to the leaders of the two countries on the will of the Sudanese and Ethiopian peoples to further strengthen the ties between them and to work for realizing renaissance in the two countries in all fields, Izz al-Dinn remarked.
Indicating a joint cooperation between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt for the interest of the peoples of the region, the Sudanese Parliament Speaker predicted that the Renaissance Dam would put and end to poverty in Ethiopia and would be conducive to achieving a regional integration.
In a speech he made at an evening party organized in honor of the visiting popular Ethiopian delegation, Dr. Izz al-Dinn indicated the distinguished and wise leadership of the leaders of the two countries, referring to the numerous agreements concluded by the two countries, leading to the establishment of a number of strategic projects beneficial to the two nations.
He said the Sudanese and Ethiopians consider Addis Ababa and Khartoum as twin cities and a national of one of the two countries does feel as a stranger in the other country.
Izz al-Dinn reiterated readiness by the Sudanese parliament to cooperate with its Ethiopian counterpart and to expand cooperation in a way that will serve the common interests of the two countries.
His opposite number Gemeda congratulated the Sudanese people on the success of the elections at all levels, saying what makes this visit a special one is that it has come in the wake of a landslide victory for Beshir.
He expressed the gratitude of the Ethiopian people and government for the support Sudan has provided for the Renaissance Dam and regarded the visits paid by the Speaker of the Sudanese Parliament and the President of the Republic to the project as something that strengthened the resolve of the Ethiopian people for implementation of the project.
The Ethiopian-Sudanese Friendship Association organized on Friday, May 8, a celebration at the Green Square, to honor the visit of the Ethiopian Popular Diplomacy delegation to Sudan in the presence of the Ethiopian Ambassador to Sudan and a number of leaderships of the popular diplomacy in the two countries.
The celebration which was attended by the members of the Ethiopian community in Khartoum and a number of Sudanese citizens included songs performed by the Ethiopian music band, which accompanied the delegation, and Sudanese singers.
The Ethiopian Ambassador to Sudan, Abadi Zemo pointed out that the Ethio-Sudanese relations are considered a model for the bilateral relations in the region, referring to the signing of the Renaissance Dam agreement which has dispelled suspicions and strengthened the principles of observing the joint interests between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt.
He appreciated the cooperation and assistance extended by the Sudanese government and people to the Ethiopian citizens in Sudan, referring to the return of the Ethiopians from Libya via Sudan.
Water Resources and Electricity Mu'taz Musa, who met the visiting delegation on Saturday, May 9, asserted the Ethiopian government's right to use its water resources, provided that this does not inflict any damage to the concerned parties.
He stressed the importance the Renaissance Dam project in strengthening the joint cooperation between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Many of the Sudanese political parties have extensively welcomed the visit of the Ethiopian delegation. The National Congress Party which has organized a party on this occasion at the Police Club, in the presence and participation of the representatives of the Council of the Parties of the National Unity Government welcomed the visit, describing its timing as important and will contribute to putting the two countries relations on the right track.
The Secretary General of the NCP's African Department, Al-Sadek Mohammed Ali, addressing the event, referred to the concern by the leaderships of the two countries as well as the civil society organizations with development of their relations for the interest of the people of the two countries .
Leaders of a number of political parties affirmed on the need for strengthening cooperation and development of the cultural, sports, investment and trade relations between the two countries.
The Representative of the United Umma Party, Dr. Musa Adam Ibrahim has lauded in a statement the efforts and solidarity of the Ethiopian people for the of the Renaissance Dam Project as an important and strategic project, first for Ethiopia and then Sudan and Egypt .
The Chairperson of the Sharq Democratic Party, Dr. Amna Dhirar, who participated in the event, underlined that Sudan and Ethiopia are linked together by common history, culture and geography which contributed to establishment of connection and cooperation in the political and popular fields.
The Chairman of the National Reform Party, Ali Hamoudah, stressed that the contacts between the Sudanese and Ethiopian peoples represent the spirit of tolerance and grace which religions advocate.
The Deputy President of the People's Movement Party, (Peace Wing), Tabitha Boutros, affirmed her party's welcome to the visit which she said would support the strategic relations between Sudan and Ethiopia and opens up horizons for further cooperation in all domains to realize the common interests of the peoples of the two countries .
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Council for International Peoples' Friendship (CIPF), Abdul-Basit Abdul-Majid, referred to the asylum of the Muslims in Abyssinia during the era of Prophet Mohamed (Peace be Upon Him) where the Ethiopian king “Najashi” protected them against the unbelievers of Mecca.
Father Filosouth Faraj addressed the festival emphasizing firmness of the peaceful co-existence between the Muslims and Christians in Sudan since ancient eras citing an example to be followed.
The festival witnessed the honoring of the Ethiopian delegation and a number of religious figures in Sudan.
Sheikh Khalid Abbas Al-Sayem Deemah (fasting throughout), received in his mosque in Um-Badda Quarter the visiting Ethiopian delegation of people's diplomacy in a large presence of the Sheikh's supporters and his Holy Quran students.
The visiting delegation inspected the Mosque components which include Holy Quran Khalawi (classes) and institutes, an electronic Islamic library and nine guest rooms.
The representative of the Ethiopian Islamic Council, Sheikh Mohamed Amin Jamal, referred in a speech to a Hadeeth (statement) of Prophet Mohamed (Peace be Upon Him) that Abyssinia was a land of belief, calling upon his Sahabah (companions) to immigrate to Abyssinia when the infidels have intensified their hostilities against them. He expressed plans to send Ethiopian students to learn Quran and Quranic studies from Sheikh Al-Sayem Deemah.
The visiting Ethiopian people's diplomacy delegation paid on Sunday, May 10, a visit to Merowe Dam in the Northern State where they were received by a number of senior officials of the Northern State.
At the outset of the visit, the Ethiopian delegation watched a documentary film on the Dam's stages of constructions, its positive impacts on the citizens' living conditions, the cost of its construction, the companies and funds which have contributed to the establishment of Merowe Dam.
The documentary film showed the geological studies conducted by the experts and the obstacles that faced the construction, starting with the diversion of the River Nile course.
The members of the Ethiopian delegation expressed their appreciation of the visit to the Dam and of the high technology that as applied in building the Dam.
The head of the delegation, Speaker Abdulla Gemada, appreciated the significant development in the Sudan, describing the Merowe Dam project as a tremendous accomplishment. "I would like to send a message to the Sudanese people that we are one people of a common destiny and we proceed together towards the realization of the development at a steady pace," he added.
The Ethiopian people's diplomacy delegation paid a visit to the antiquities area of Jebel Al-Berkel, in the Northern State on Sunday, May 10, in the company of the State Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Tabitha Boutros, and the Secretary General of the Council for International People's Friendship (CIPF), Abdul-Monim Al-Sunni.
The delegation members were given a detailed briefing about the history of Al-Berkel pyramids which are included in the list of the World's Heritage. They also visited Al-Berkel Mountain Museum which contains valuable antiquity pieces and drawings reflecting the ancient history and civilization of Merowe era.
During a meeting of the delegation on Sunday evening with the Ethiopian community in the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum, the Ethiopian Speaker affirmed the important role that can be played by the Ethiopian community in boosting the Sudanese - Ethiopian relations as they are living close together.
Abdulla Gemeda, lauded during the meeting the firm relations between Ethiopia and Sudan at formal and popular levels. He reiterated keenness by his country to further consolidate the bilateral relations for the benefit of both countries. For their, the members of the Ethiopian community in Khartoum appreciated the cooperation and fine treatment extended to them by the Sudanese people, expressing their readiness to return home as soon as they find job opportunities there so as to contribute to the development process in their country.
A forum for the Ethiopian and Sudanese businessmen was opened on Monday, May 11, opening session of which was addressed by CPIF Secretary General Abdul Monim al-Sunni, who noted that the visit of the Ethiopian Public delegation and the convening of the Forum with the Sudanese Businessmen, provide ways and means for boosting the social, economic, cultural and political contacts between the two countries and peoples.
A symposium was organized, also on Monday, by the Sudanese Businessmen Association, in honor of the visiting Ethiopian popular delegation, in which government officials and researchers discussed issues related to the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, bilateral relations and the use of the Nile waters.
The Advisor of the Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity, Dr. Osman Al-Tom, revealed in a paper he presented at the symposium the possibility of the establishment of strong economic integration between Sudan and Ethiopia through exploitation of the Ethiopian electric power, the Sudanese water resources and the Egyptian food industry, pointing to the problems facing the people of the Eastern Nile Basin countries, including poverty, drought and disputes, which could be solved through the cooperation, coordination of efforts and the joint action to protect the resources .
The Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, who is the leader of the popular diplomacy delegation, addressing the symposium, said it is not only Ethiopia that will benefit from the Renaissance Dam, but also Sudan, Egypt and other African countries will benefit likewise.
He commended the efforts exerted by the Sudan for signing the framework agreement on the Renaissance Dam, as well as the agreements signed between the Sudanese and Ethiopian businessmen, stressing the importance of the economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Chairman of Investment Department of the IPFC, Dr. Mohamed Al-Nayer, pointed out in his speech to the symposium the remarkable development in the Sudanese-Ethiopian economic and political relations which would open the door for economic integration and establishment of free zones between the two countries.
He called for reactivation and increase of volume of the trade exchange between the two countries, which exceeded 400 million dollar last year, and for supporting the Renaissance Dam operations, especially in the fields of electricity.
During the symposium, the Sudanese Businessmen Association and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed an agreement on organization of the trade between the two countries.
Also, the Sudanese businesswomen Society and its Ethiopian counterpart signed an agreement on trade and investment cooperation.
Gemeda described, in a press conference he gave at the end of the delegation visit, as fruitful the meetings held between the Ethiopian delegation and the Sudanese public and private sectors, the Speaker of Sudan Parliament, the Minister of Water Resources and various Sudanese institutions, indicating these meetings have discussed the cooperation between Sudan and Ethiopia in all domains.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Al-Fatih Izz-Eddin, announced that a Sudanese people's diplomacy delegation will visit Ethiopia in the second week of next June in response to the visit paid to Sudan by the Ethiopian delegation.
He affirmed, during a parliamentary meeting with the visiting Ethiopian delegation at the National Assembly Tuesday, the Sudanese Parliament keenness to consolidate its parliamentary relations with Ethiopia through the signing of agreements and protocols.
E N D