Egypt, EU, NATO discuss bilateral relations, exchange views on regional files

Sami Hegazi
6 Min Read

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has met with European Union (EU) foreign ministers to discuss in depth aspects of relations between the two sides. 

During the meeting, the two sides also exchanged views on a number of regional files and issues of common interests.

This came as Shoukry held a series of meetings, on Monday, as part of his visit to the Belgian capital, Brussels. During the meetings, the minister met with a number of foreign ministers from the EU, as well as the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

This was in addition to the minister’s meeting with the European Union Commissioner for Partnerships.

Ahmed Hafez, Spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the meeting with EU Foreign Ministers witnessed the affirmation of the strategic nature of the close relations between Egypt and the EU. This is due to the EU being Egypt’s most trade and investment partner.

The two sides also discussed the importance of working on more coordination regarding regional and international issues of mutual interest, increasing trade exchange, and attracting more European investments to Egypt.

Shoukry reviewed the successful Egyptian efforts to stop any flows of migrants from its coasts since September 2016, in addition to the country’s hosting about 6 million migrants and refugees.

He also presented the positive steps Egypt has taken to enhance the human rights situation at the political, economic, and social levels.

The meeting saw consultations on a number of important regional issues, foremost of which is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) file.

Shoukry presented the results of the last United Nations (UN) Security Council session, expressing Egypt’s appreciation for the EU’s recent statement, which criticised Ethiopia’s announcement of the start of the second filling of the dam. This is taking place without reaching an agreement with the downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan. 

The EU statement also emphasised the demand for the importance of developing a road map to reach a just and binding agreement within a specific time frame.

The meeting also dealt with the Palestinian issue and the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis. The discussions on this file covered the need to move it and create international momentum in order to push forward towards finding a just and comprehensive settlement.

Shoukry indicated that Egypt will continue its efforts to achieve peace and stability based on the two-state solution, as well as work for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Egypt will also work to provide aid and development support to all parts of the Palestinian territories, in cooperation with the Palestinian National Authority.

The meeting with the EU Foreign Ministers also touched on the Syrian file and the exchange of visions in this regard, as well as the developments in Libya. The two sides highlighted the importance of holding elections on time on 24 December 2021.

They emphasised the added importance of the exit of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay or exception.

The EU Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation for the pivotal role played by Egypt in the region at all levels in order to achieve regional security and stability.

Also on Monday, Shoukry met with Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, at the organisation’s headquarters in Brussels.

The meeting comes as part of the interest in consulting with various international parties to discuss regional and international situations, and to present the Egyptian vision regarding them.

The meeting dealt with ways to develop existing cooperation and partnership programmes between the two sides, and to enhance cooperation in several areas, including cyber security.

The two sides also discussed ways to combat terrorism and illegal immigration, and to detect and remove mines, in addition to building human and technological capabilities.

The talks touched on various security challenges across the region, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, as well as the Sahel, Sahara, and the Horn of Africa.

Shoukry reviewed the Egyptian position regarding the crises facing a number of countries in the region, the country’s efforts in the field of combating terrorism, and the comprehensive approach it has adopted in this regard.

In this regard, the minister affirmed Egypt’s commitment to support international efforts to combat terrorism and extremist ideology.

Earlier on Monday, Shoukry held a meeting with Jutta Urpilainen, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, to discuss opportunities for mutual cooperation. 

The meeting also sought to address the EU’s development policy towards Egypt and an extended partnership between the two sides.

Sameh Shoukry also met with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Oriscol to discuss ways to advance bilateral cooperation between the two countries and regional issues of common interest.

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