PM Madbouly arrived in Tunis on Thursday to launch the 17th session of the Egyptian-Tunisian Higher Committee, which had inked 11 agreements between both nations in several fields, including health, education, agriculture and technology.
President Saied welcomed the signing of the agreements during his meeting with Madbouly, said a statement released by the Egyptian cabinet on Friday.
Madbouly also briefed President Saied on the agreements reached during the current session of the joint committee, including the periodic holding of the joint economic cooperation forum, and probing the launching a regular shipping line between both countries.
The Egyptian prime minister said both sides agreed that 2022-2023 will be the year of economic cooperation between Egypt and Tunisia.
The Egyptian premier reaffirmed to Saied Egypt’s readiness to place all its experiences in the field of economic reform and social protection programs at the service of Tunisia, the cabinet statement noted.
The meeting was also attended by Tunisia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Othman Jerandi; Minister of Trade and Export Development Fadila bin Hamza who is also the head of the Tunisian side in Egyptian-Tunisian Higher Committee; and the Tunisian ambassador to Egypt.
The meeting was attended by Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat who is the head of the Egyptian side in the Egyptian-Tunisian Higher Committee; and Ehab Fahmy, Egypt’s ambassador to Tunisia.
On the sideline of the higher committee meetings on Thursday, Madbouly and his Tunisian counterpart PM Najla Bouden inaugurated the Egyptian-Tunisian Economic Forum with a focus on increasing investment prospects between the two countries.
Egypt supports Tunisia constitutional reforms
Madbouly also voiced Egypt’s full support for Tunisia’s planned implementaion of economic reform in parallel with constitutional and political reform, which were recently announced by the Tunisian president.
Tunisia plans to hold a referendum on a new constitution in July, with legislative elections to be held at the end of the current year. Both polls will be the latest in a series of steps by the Tunisian president since 25 July 2021.
In October, Saied announced the formation of a new cabinet featuring a record number of women, including Prime Minister Najla Bouden, the first-ever female prime minister in Tunisia and the Arab world.
For his part, President Saied also expressed his appreciation of the historical relations with Egypt, saying that Cairo has always stood by Tunisia, recalling President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s directives to supply his country with medical supplies and medicines to help Tunisia face the coronavirus pandemic.
He also conveyed his greeting to El-Sisi, noting that the Egyptian president “saved Egypt in a difficult historical stage it went through, and then launched an urban and development progress.”
Tunisia supports Egypt in GERD issue
Meanwhile, the Tunisian president reiterated his country’s support to Egypt in the long-standing dispute with Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Tunisia’s position on the GERD is the same as Egypt’s, Saied said, stressing that he would not deviate from this stance because Tunisia’s security is part of Egypt’s national security.
In September 2021, the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement – drafted by Tunisia during its term as the Arab non-permanent member of the UN body – encouraging Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia “to resume negotiations” to swiftly reach a “mutually acceptable and binding agreement on the filling and operation” of the controversial mega-dam.
However, Addis Ababa unilaterally began generating power from the GERD in February of this year after it also unilaterally conducted the first and second fillings of the GERD, despite the absence of a legally binding deal with Cairo and Khartoum.
Madbouly thanked Saied for his “steadfast and historical” position in support of Egypt in the decade-old GERD dispute, saying “it is not surprising from sisterly Tunisia or its wise Arab leadership.
The latest rounds of talks between Egypt, Sudan And Ethiopia collapsed in April 2021, with Egypt and Sudan both blaming the failure of this and previous rounds of talks on Ethiopia’s intransigence.