Shoukry calls on Europe to support anti-terrorism efforts

Joel Gulhane
3 Min Read
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP Photo)
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (AFP Photo)
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
(AFP Photo)

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt is “looking for European countries to adopt clear and decisive stances against terrorism” at the start of a three-stop tour of the continent.

Shoukry’s comment came during a meeting with Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, according to Monday statement from the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Shoukry said that European countries should not “allow the misuse of principles such as freedom of expression to incite violence and sectarianism”.

The minister discussed a variety of regional issues with Röttgen, including the situations in Libya, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He also met with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday in Berlin, where they discussed regional issues and the Egyptian economy.

Steinmeier praised Egypt’s role in securing an open-ended ceasefire agreement between the Palestinian factions and Israel at the end of August, and “Germany’s reliance on the Egyptian efforts underway to consolidate the ceasefire”.  The internationally backed Egyptian initiative aims to improve the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and to catalyse talks between the Palestinians and Israelis for a lasting solution to the decades-old conflict.

The ministers also discussed the escalating situation in Libya and “the need to coordinate the efforts of neighbouring countries with… international efforts”, including support for the elected House of Representatives. The elected Libyan body is facing a challenge from the Islamist General National Congress, which was supposed to hand over power, but instead appointed a new prime minister to form a “salvation government”.

Steinmeier announced on Sunday that Germany has decided to provide arms to Northern Iraq to combat the advance of extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group, which rebranded itself as ‘Islamic State’ in June, has claimed large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq pledging to continue its advance.

Shoukry and Steinmeier “agreed on the importance of having an Arab and international strategy to fight the forces of extremism and terrorism that threaten the region and Europe alike”, the ministry statement said.

Shoukry is expected to travel to Paris on Tuesday where he will meet with French President Francois Hollande and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius. The next stop on his tour will be Rome, where he is scheduled to meet Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini, who is set to become the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

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Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane
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