Angola officials announced on Thursday that Egypt and Angola have entered into a memorandum of understanding concerning the sharing of military intelligence. This development comes amidst escalating tensions caused by the construction of a large-scale dam by Ethiopia on the Nile River.
The President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Luanda on the 6th of June 2023, for a 48-hour working visit, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Angola, Joao Lourenco. This is the first visit of its kind for an Egyptian president to Angola. Both parties discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation, including in defence, security, counter-terrorism, economy, healthcare, education, and energy.
According to a spokesperson from Angola’s Ministry of Defense, the agreement was signed on Wednesday evening by Abel Kandiho, the head of Angolan military intelligence, and General Sameh Saber El-Degwi, the deputy chief of Egyptian military intelligence. The memorandum entails the exchange of information between the two agencies, specifically aimed at combating terrorism.
General Sameh Saber El-Degwi, quoted in a statement from the Angolan army, emphasized the inevitability of cooperation between Angola and Egypt due to their shared utilization of the Nile. He stated that any challenges faced by Ugandans would inevitably affect Egypt in some way or another.
The agreement between the two Nile basin countries comes in a context of high tensions between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand, and Ethiopia on the other hand about a mega-dam built by Addis Ababa on this river.
In recent weeks, Egypt has issued numerous warnings about the “Great Renaissance Dam” (GERD) being built in northwestern Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to form the Nile. Uganda is crossed by the White Nile.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday repeated to his “Ethiopian brothers” to “not (touch) a drop of Egypt’s water because all options are open,” after Ethiopia announced it would continue filling the GERD.
Since work on the dam began in 2011, Egypt and Sudan wanted a tripartite agreement on the operation of the dam before filling began. No agreement has been reached, and Ethiopia considers the filling to be an integral part of the dam’s construction and cannot be delayed.
Addis Ababa says the hydroelectric power generated by the dam is vital to meet the energy needs of its 110 million people.
But Egypt, which depends on the Nile for about 97 per cent of its irrigation and drinking water, sees the dam as a threat to its water supply. Sudan, meanwhile, fears that its own dams could be damaged if Ethiopia proceeds with the full filling of the GERD before an agreement is reached.
Similarly, two years ago, Egypt Ambassador to Uganda H.E Ashraf Swelam accompanied by the Egyptian military attaché to Uganda Brigadier General Osama Selim met with the Ugandan Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Hon. Adolf Mwesige and Chief of Staff of the UPDF Ground Forces Major General Leopold Eric Kyanda on Thursday 10 March.
Both parties discussed joint training programs, enhancing cooperation in the defence and security fields as well as combating terrorism.
The two sides emphasised on continued strengthening of the strong bond between the two countries and military and Defence support in business through NEC, training, combating terrorism and medicine.