The Ministry of Foreign affairs has announced that it hosted “political consultations on planning policies and relations between Egypt and the European Union”.
Heading the Egyptian delegation for Thursday’s meeting was Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs and Security and Strategic Organisations Affairs Hatem Seif El Nasr. Deputy Secretary General for the External Action Service Helga Schmid headed the EU delegation.
According to a statement from the ministry, the two sides discussed “issues related to developments in the Arab Spring countries… the Palestinian issue and the responsibility of the entire international community to act pragmatically towards ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories”.
The consultations also dealt with wider regional issues such as the Syrian crisis and the Nile Basin Initiative, on which the Egyptian side presented its view. They also discussed “a number of African issues of common interest, mainly the situation in Sudan, Somalia, Mali and efforts to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa”.
The two sides also discussed “the Iranian nuclear issue and nuclear disarmament in the Middle East, and El Nasr stressed our [Egypt’s] commitment to dealing with the issues of nuclear arms in the region”.
The Egyptian side has been disappointed by the postponement of a conference scheduled to take place in 2012 to rid the region of weapons of mass destruction. Egypt has been spearheading the campaign to ensure the conference takes place following what the ministry and the Arab League described as a lack of cooperation from Israel in the lead up to the conference.
The ministry’s statement reported that El Nasr said that the consultations are “part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ keenness to develop Egyptian relations with the EU as it is a prominent force in the international arena and has been increasingly influential on both an economic and political level”.