October 1, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The prominent Egyptian TV preacher Amr Khaled arrived in South Sudan’s capital of Juba on Monday at the start of a 10-day tour that will take him to several Nile basin countries including Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.
- Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled (Reuters)
A statement published on Khaled’s official website said that his delegation includes 20 figures representing the government as well as 15 NGO’s. His visit was coordinated by the Egyptian foreign ministry.
At the onset of his arrival in Juba, Khaled will head to an unspecified hospital which will be run by Egypt per an agreement previously made.
Speaking via phone from Juba to Cairo based Al-Nahar TV, Khaled said that the goal of his visit is to build bridges of cooperation with Nile basin nations which he said feel that Egypt is dealing arrogantly with them.
Khaled, whose TV shows promoting Islam are widely viewed throughout the Middle East, underscored the importance of his initiative in the context of the ongoing dispute between Egypt and these countries over the allocation of the Nile waters.
Egypt, already threatened by climate change, is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its water and has been nervously watching upriver nations forge ahead with hydro-power dam projects.
Six Nile basin countries signed a deal in 2010 for a more equitable distribution of water shares that would strip Egypt of its veto over hydro-power projects upstream. Egypt and Sudan assert that the deal is illegal and violates the 1929 and 1956 Nile water agreements.
Khaled is set to meet with the ministers of education and youth in South Sudan to discuss cooperation with ’Life Makers’ organization sponsored by Khalid which has several branches internationally.
Khaled who was an accountant with KPMG is viewed in the Muslim world as a moderate who rejects extremism and has denounced the actions of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
He has recently launched a party by the name of "Egypt’s Party" which he is said its goals are development oriented.