By Tim Nanns
After a meeting with Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Monday to discuss regional issues, specifically the crisis in Libya, as well as bilateral cooperation.
The Greek minister said his visit was a “message of solidarity”, conveying Greece’s full support to Egypt concerning Egypt’s “leading role[…] in the Middle East”.
Alaa Youssef, spokesperson for the president, further stressed “the depth of historical relations” between the two countries.
Concerning the crisis in Libya, Al-Sisi stated that the Egyptian intervention in favour of the government was necessary in light of the fact that NATO did not complete its mission there, leaving Libya “vulnerable to acts of terrorism and chaos”, and it was necessary to intervene to stop the spreading “of this phenomenon and its transition to other countries”.
The Egyptian stance received Greece’s full support, with Kammenos affirming full agreement with the “Egyptian point of view”, and noting that the general security situation south of the Mediterranean was one of “the most important challenges” to European countries.
The delegations agreed to “intensify the exchange of visits”, with the statement mentioning security and the military as the main topics of coordination.
Southern European countries, among them Greece, are especially wary of the deteriorating situation in Libya, because of the ensuing refugee flow to Europe, leading to tens of thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean in recent years.
A conference concerning the topic of illegal migration will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh on 23 and 24 April, with participants from European and African countries and their respective supranational organisations, along with UN representatives.