Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday started a two-day international tour to Germany and Austria for political and economic talks with his counterparts, according to a ministry statement.
In Germany, Shoukry met with the Federal Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer, and is expected to meet his counterpart Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer, Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller, as well as other top Bundestag members.
Meanwhile, Shoukry will meet Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, as well as foreign minister Karin Kneissl on enhancing political and economic cooperation.
“The visit came in the light of Austria’s presidency of the European council starting from July 2018, as Egypt seek to coordinate with international forums, which reflects the significant role of European partners in Egypt’s foreign policy,” read the statement.
Shoukry’s tour came amid major political crisis erupted in recent weeks after Italy closed its door to a boat full of hundreds of migrants, announcing that it would close its ports to non-governmental organisations boats citing that it was no longer “legitimate.”
The migration issue had escalated to the top of the European council agenda in recent weeks. However, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday secured an agreement with 16 European countries to rapidly return migrants who first arrived in other countries, as well as calling for building large “anchor centres” at Germany’s borders. The agreement also revealed that the bloc leaders will seek to build shelters for asylum seekers in the Middle East and Africa.
In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal renewed his country’s rejection to build refugee centres in its territory, saying that “(Egypt’s) capacities are already utilised today,” asserting the importance of “receiving more support from Germany and the EU.”