The recent attack on Rawda mosque was ‘savage’ and cannot be accepted in any way, said Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, during discussions at the Mediterranean Dialogues forum (Rome MED 2017), held in the Italian capital Rome.
The minister said that there are devices used for observing suicide attacks, clarifying that Egypt needs such devices, and calling on other countries that are not helping Egypt to play their part in the fight against terrorism.
He further said that the Egyptian government has basic development projects for the Sinai peninsula, adding that the confrontation of terrorism will not only be through economic projects, but also must be through making societies immune to taking advantage of social conditions in favour of terrorist ideologies.
The minister noted that it is currently difficult to determine the duration of the ongoing operation in Sinai, and that the government is very keen on the prosperity of its people and the protection of their lives.
The attack that took place during Friday prayers is considered the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history, as the official death toll stands at 311, including 27 children.
Besides tackling terrorism, Shoukry addressed regional issues. Beginning with the Libyan crisis, he stressed that human trafficking is widespread in that country, as it provides funds to the Islamic State group (IS) and with the majority of intelligence information proving that financing terrorist activities happens through the trafficking of humans, weapons, and drugs.
“Egypt stands with everyone in Libya and does not discriminate against any of its brothers there. Egypt has made great efforts to amend the political agreement to build confidence between the parties there,” Shoukry said.
As for Egyptian-Italian relations, Shoukry stressed the strong cooperation between Egypt and Italy in the Italian student Giulio Regeni’s case, and an exchange of information between two country’s prosecutors. “We are determined to do everything in our power to reach a mutually satisfying outcome within legal frameworks.”
On the sidelines of the forum, the minister met with Federica Mogherini, vice president of the European Commission, where they confirmed that Egyptian-European relations are based on a strategic partnership between the two sides.
The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Europe is close to € 30bn euros, in addition to direct investments exceeding €45bn. Shoukry expressed Egypt’s interest in enhancing and expanding cooperation with the Euro-Mediterranean region in order to develop mutual interests and face common challenges, pointing to the document of partnership priorities adopted by the two sides in July 2017.