Prime Minister Hesham Qandil plans to attend the funerals of recently deceased Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Ethiopian patriarch Pope Paulus.
Egyptian acting Pope Pachomius also plans to attend the funerals.
Qandil called Zenawi “a great African leader who had vision and wisdom, and who defended the African cause.” He also stressed Egypt’s determination to ensure fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr called Deputy Prime Minister Haile Dessalines to offer his condolences.
Amr took the occasion to state that Zenawi had promised him not to threaten Egypt’s Nile water quota.
The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources also expressed its condolences.
The relationship between the Egyptian and Ethiopian churches go back to the time of St. Athanasius, the twentieth pope of Alexandria, when he ordained Fromentios in 329 AD to be the first bishop of Ethiopia. The Alexandria Church was considered the mother of the Ethiopian Church.
Traditionally, the Alexandria Church sent an Egyptian to head the Ethiopian Church, until 1959 when the latter become independent under Ethiopian Bishop Basilius.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm