Fri, 04 Sep 2020 - 04:33 GMT
Fri, 04 Sep 2020 - 04:33 GMT
Sisi receives Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs - Borrell's Twitter account
CAIRO – 4 September 2020: Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief embarked on an official visit to the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where he met with Egyptian leaders, including the president. The meetings focused on issues of mutual concern, especially the Middle East peace process and the Libyan crisis.
In a press conference following his meeting with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry on Thursday, Borrell said “we spoke about the emergency package of support we prepared to face the consequences of COVID-19, which is hitting you, us and everybody much stronger than expected”.
We also discussed how to best handle difficult issues, like human rights. Among friends, we should and we can talk about everything.
Maybe the most important aspects of this visit are the regional issues, because our neighborhood - the Mediterranean - is in trouble.
We raised the situation in Libya – which I visited earlier this week, and where Egypt is playing a decisive role and I want to thank you for this role in pushing for and keeping the ceasefire in Libya.
On the Middle East Peace Process – and above all the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which has prevented the annexation in the Jordan Valley this summer.
I think that we have to continue working on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the current developments are very worrying, and on the need for de-escalation and dialogue.
And finally, although it is a little bit far away from the European Union countries and much closer to Egypt, we are very much concerned and we shared comments and considerations about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, where we welcome Egypt’s continued engagement in the negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan, and we hope that you will continue having this important role in order to use this vital resource for Egypt in an organized way.
Dear Minister, I am very much looking forward to continuing our discussions over lunch and also during your next visit to Brussels.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reiterated Egypt’s unchangeable stance on supporting a political solution in Libya, away from foreign intervention and armed militias, as he received Borrell, the Presidency said.
Sisi affirmed that Egypt welcomes all constructive and positive steps that would lead to peaceful settlement, de-escalation and development in Libya. He also stressed Egypt’s support to international efforts in this regard, including backing all international envoys to Libya, relevant international conferences such as the Berlin Conference earlier this year and the Cairo Declaration calling for ceasefire and dismissing foreign fighters from Libya.
Borrell highlighted the importance the EU attaches to Egypt’s pivotal role aiming to achieve balance in the Libyan issue. He also lauded Egyptian efforts to tackle regional challenges that affect the security and stability of the countries of the Mediterranean, including hosting millions of refugees, combating illegal immigration, terrorism and extremism and bringing peace to the Middle East.
The meeting was attended also by Shoukry and EU Ambassador to Egypt Christian Berger.
Sisi and Borrell also discussed the peace process in the Middle East and agreed on the need to push forward joint international work toward resuming negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, with the aim of reaching a fair and comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian issue, in accordance with international references.
For his part, Borrell hailed the continuous Egyptian efforts to deal with tensions between the Palestinian and Israeli sides regarding Gaza Strip.
Concerning the dispute on the Ethiopian Dam, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s adherence to its water rights, through reaching an international, binding and balanced agreement that states clear rules for the process of filling and operating the massive dam and achieves mutual interests of all parties.
The president affirmed paramount importance of the water issue for Egypt, as it mainly touches the Egyptian national security.
Shoukry affirmed Egypt’s support to ceasefire in Libya, the formation of a new presidential council and a fair distribution of wealth, as he met with Borrell.
Shoukry highlighted the Jufra-Sirte “red line” Egypt has earlier set in order for ceasefire to be implemented in Libya and hostile activities to stop in the country.
The Egyptian minister affirmed Egypt’s fixed stance and vision on backing the peaceful settlement in Libya, within the framework of the international consensus to resolve the Libyan crisis through the principles of the Berlin Conference held on Libya earlier this year.
Shoukry said Egypt would continue to coordinate with international partners to achieve this vision and called on the international community to show seriousness and exert further efforts to help activate this vision in Libya.
Meeting Arab League chief
Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Borrell both think the Israeli annexation plan should not be fulfilled, due to international objection, a statement by the League read.
They agreed that the plans of the current US administration on the Palestinian cause cannot lead to a just, permanent and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the statement added.
They also highlighted the importance of joint Arab-European work to consolidate existing international consensus on the determinants of a peaceful settlement within the framework of the two-state solution.
They also voiced adherence to the decisions of the international legitimacy and the two-state solution principle as a basis to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so as an independent Palestinian state can be established, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In a Twitter post, Borrell Covered said he and Aboul Gheit covered wide range of topics in a “good” meeting, calling the Arab League a key regional partner for EU.
“We explored avenues to deepen our cooperation.”
Meeting defense minister
Defense Minister has expressed appreciation for the relations between Egypt and the European Union, saying that these relations are of strategic nature, as he met with Borrell.
Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki, during the meeting, said the relations between Egypt and the EU are based on cooperation between partners to achieve stability and security for people of the Mediterranean region.
Zaki called the EU one of Egypt’s most prominent partners regarding efforts to achieve security and stability in the region, adding that relations between Egypt and EU member states have a great political, military and economic significance.
Borrell, for his part, affirmed the need to continue coordination and cooperation with Egypt.
The meeting was attended by Egypt’s Ambassador to Brussels Khaled Al-Bakli and a number of Egyptian military officials.