Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called Monday for “concerted efforts” to combat terrorism in the Middle East and Africa during a meeting with the European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator.
Shoukry hosted Gilles de Kerchove at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Cairo on Monday morning. The duo discussed “regional and international efforts to combat the phenomenon of terrorism and the serious threat it represents to security and stability in various parts of the world”, said ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty in a Monday statement.
During the meeting, Shoukry commented on the “importance of concerted efforts” to address these terrorist organisations in the Middle East and Africa. He stressed to de Kerchove that these organisations pose a threat to the entire world, “including the EU”.
Shoukry said these groups rally around “extremist ideas and adopt the same common goals as well as to bring them together to coordinate operations on the ground”. The minister added that terror groups “have to be addressed with…firmness and strength”, as well as blocking their funding and “confront extremist ideas”. He pointed to the role of the Cairo-based religious school Al-Azhar’s role in “spreading the values and principles of moderate and tolerant Islam”.
De Kerchove stressed the EU’s “seriousness” in confronting terror, “especially with the phenomenon of European youth recruitment in these organisations”, according to Abdelatty.
The spokesman said Shoukry and de Kerchove discussed coordination between Egypt and the EU to confront terrorism. The pair also discussed the situation in Libya “and the impact of instability there on the spread of terrorist organisations”.
Shoukry stressed the need to “support the legitimate institutions in Libya and support the government” to combat terrorism. They also discussed the rise of terrorism in Syria and Iraq.
Egypt has witnessed frequent militant attacks on security forces across the country and has increased operations to combat the rise of militancy in the volatile Sinai Peninsula.
‘State of Sinai’, formerly called Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, adopted its new name after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in November. It has been the deadliest militant group in Egypt over the past year.
Smaller militant organisations such as Ajnad Misr have also emerged and carried out numerous attacks since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.
The foreign ministry condemned on Saturday a double suicide bombing on a mosque in northern Nigeria and warned of the threat terrorism poses to the region and the world.