On February 4, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivered a statement at the 5th Arab-European ministerial meeting in the Belgian capital Brussels. It was attended by Sudanese Foreign Minister Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, as well as, participating Arab and European foreign ministers.
Official MFA Spokesperson, Counselor Ahmed Hafez, stated that FM Shoukry’s statement came to emphasize the importance of holding this meeting. It constitutes a platform to reinforce consultation and the exchange of views on overall issues of mutual interest for both the Arab and European sides, in order to serve the shared interests of all peoples and countries of the two regions, in a manner that would effectively build upon the deep historical ties that have always united the Arab and European worlds.
It is noteworthy that this meeting comes in the framework of preparing for the first Arab-European Summit, which Egypt will host on February 24 and 25.
The Official Spokesperson added that in his statement, FM Shoukry emphasized the centrality of the Palestinian issue to Arab peoples and to achieving stability across the entire region. He noted Egypt’s firm position toward the Palestinian issue, and supporting the Palestinian people’s legitimate and inalienable rights. He mentioned that Egypt will continue efforts aiming to reunite the Palestinian front and alleviate the humanitarian suffering of our brothers all over the Palestinian Territories.
FM Shoukry noted that Egypt welcomes the European Union’s efforts to support the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, and that it counts on the continuation of these initial positions by the European side and building upon agreed elements without a retreat that would not only be inconsistent with the UN resolutions, but also other principles of justice and fairness for the rights of the Palestinian citizen.
Counselor Hafez further added in his remarks that FM Shoukry broached developments witnessed in the region, including the Syrian crisis and the situation in Libya. In this regard, the Minister stressed the determinants of the Egyptian position toward dealing with such challenges through advancing political solutions to end these crises, and continuing efforts aiming to eradicate terrorism and its nurturing environment, while ensuring the unity and sovereignty of these countries and the safety of their territories.
Counselor Hafez explained that FM Shoukry also mentioned in his statement that this meeting is a good chance to review progress made in existing fields of cooperation between the countries, as well as, develop it based on the principle of the mutual respect of privacy, and building upon common and shared interests between the two sides. Here, the Minister expressed the Arab side’s aspiration for the European Union to support efforts aiming to achieve comprehensive development and support developmental projects in Arab countries.
FM Shoukry further addressed various challenges facing our Arab region. In regards to the migration issue, he noted the huge efforts made by Arab states to deal with this phenomenon including Egypt, which hosts approximately 5 million refugees from various countries and exerts all efforts to provide them with a decent life. The Minister stressed the need to take a more comprehensive approach to dealing with causes of this phenomenon, including more effective contribution by European partners in dealing with the causes, and away from limited political alignment.
Counselor Hafez further added that FM Shoukry addressed in his statement the human rights issue. He stressed the importance of both the Arab and European sides committing to a comprehensive approach to protecting human rights; civil, political, economic, social, and cultural, as well as, the right to development. He noted the aspiration for cooperation with European partners to renew the shared commitment with this comprehensive perception of human rights, and to firmly confront the hatred and racist rhetoric.
Accordingly, FM Shoukry emphasized the need to also follow a comprehensive approach to combat the terrorism phenomenon. It is at the heart of any sincere effort to protect human rights. And, it is important to deal with all economic and social aspects related to this phenomenon, as well as, confront the takifiri ideologies of these terrorist groups. The Minister noted the need to adopt mechanisms to combat the financing of terrorism, in addition to taking firm and sharp measures against states and entities that directly or indirectly support this hateful phenomenon. He added that the implications of states employing terrorist organizations to achieve political interests has contributed to compounding damages the world faces.
FM Shoukry concluded his statement by emphasizing the continuation of efforts aiming to surpass all obstacles facing the Arab region in this critical phase. He stressed the determination to move toward a better future where Arab peoples achieve their aspirations for freedom, dignity, progress, and stability.