Saudi official visit to Ethiopia’s Nile dam sparks controversy in Egypt’s parliament; Saudis retaliate by banning pepper import from Egypt

21 Dec

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Al-Masry Al-Youm

The Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives (parliament) witnessed on Tuesday Dec 20, 2016 heated arguments between MPs, over the timing of the visit of Saudi officials to Ethiopia and its links to the Renaissance Dam project, in light of the current strained relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

An adviser to the Saudi monarch recently visited Addis Ababa and met with senior Ethiopian officials.

Arguments started after MP Magdy Seif asked Assistant Foreign Minister Khaled Youssry about whether the Saudi official’s visit had links to the Renaissance Dam project. Seif responded by saying that it was not clear yet whether there are planned joint Saudi-Ethiopian projects, other than those announced during the Saudi official’s visit.

Seif reiterated the need to have confidence in Egypt’s political leadership.

“Saudi Arabia has to be put in its right stature,” said MP Said Shababeek, stressing that Tiran and Sanafir islands are Egyptian land.

Saudi authorities meanwhile imposed on Tuesday a temporary ban on the import of all types of pepper from Egypt. The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the Ministry of Environment as saying that the decision was made after residues of pesticides were found in a sample from a shipment of Egyptian imported pepper.

Egyptian quarantine authorities have not received any official notification yet from quarantine Saudi authorities on the temporarily import ban of pepper from Egypt because of pesticide residues, said the chairman of the Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantines, Ibrahim Embaby.

He added that international standards apply to all exported agricultural products to Saudi Arabia.

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