by Marwa Yehya, Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China and Egypt have agreed to enhance cooperation with Egypt on irrigation and water resources, Egyptian Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Bahaa-Eddin said Saturday.
The agreement was reached after "fruitful" talks with China's Water Resources Minister Chen Lei in Cairo, Bahaa-Eddin said in an interview with Xinhua. He visited Beijing last November and signed a memo of understanding with the Chinese government.
"Cooperation between China and Egypt in the fields of irrigation and water supply is new, but now the most important thing is our exchange of expertise and the specialized training courses offered by China, of which the biggest share goes to Egypt," Bahaa-Eddin said.
China has hosted a large number of Egyptian engineers and technicians for specialized training on water development and administration, the Egyptian minister noted.
In addition, the Chinese experts also came to Egypt to offer suggestion on its major water issues, he said.
"Applying Chinese successful telemetric irrigation control system, using the escada system that links irrigation pumping stations, monitoring dams and automating their gates as well as maximizing water usage are among the major topics of cooperation between Egypt and China," Bahaa-Eddin said.
On future possible areas of cooperation, the Egyptian minister said Beijing may help Egypt resolve problems in Nasser Lake and al-Salam Canal using China's special research center affiliated with the UNESCO.
He also suggested cooperation in the Suez Canal axis project as China could provide appropriate technology at a competitive price.
Bahaa-Eddin said Chen has agreed to help Egypt fix serious irrigation problems such as interrupted pumping stations. Cairo has already sent proposals to the biggest water research center in China for cooperation.
As for Egypt's issues with some African Nile-Basin countries on shares of the Nile water and the Chinese water projects in Africa, Bahaa-Eddin said that nothing so far affected Egypt's share in the Nile.
"We do not need China's mediation in our issues with Nile-Basin states, but China promised not to establish any projects that would harm Egypt's water supply," he said.