Wed, 25 May 2022 - 01:17 GMT
Wed, 25 May 2022 - 01:17 GMT
Egyptian President and new African Union chairperson Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during the 32nd African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on February 10, 2019. (AFP)
CAIRO – 25 May 2022: As the world is marking on Wednesday the 2022 Africa Day with its theme centered around the importance of addressing malnutrition and food insecurity, Egypt has pledged to continue cooperation with African people to achieve insecurity and resolve decades-long disputes.
Africa Day, also known as African Unity Day, is celebrated annually on 25 May and commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
The Organization of African Unity was an intergovernmental organization established on 25 May, 1963 in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa by 32 African countries.
The OAU then evolved into the present day 55-member-state African Union (AU).
The celebration of Africa Day this year comes amid amplified challenges facing the continent due to the global crises, includeing coronavirus, climate change, as well as the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which has affected global food supplies.
Egypt has repeatedly affirmed keenness to enhance cooperation with African countries to consolidate security and stability in the continent, combat terrorism, and develop energy transition.
Sustainable development, ending conflicts
Marking Africa Day, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt will continue working along with African brothers to achieve sustainable development.
Egypt will also work on “enhancing joint efforts to resolve the issues and disputes that the continent has suffered from for decades and that have prevented the dreams of the [continent’s] sons from coming true,” Sisi said in a Twitter thread on Wednesday.
The Egyptian president congratulated African people on the occasion of Africa Day, saying it represents a great historic memory that established a new era of enhancing unity and joint cooperation among African states.
“Here we are today, taking our firm steps towards creating a stable continent that guarantees a decent life for its people and instills a culture of civilization, tolerance and love for the whole world,” Sisi said.
Sisi wished African people further progress, stability and prosperity.
In January, Sisi called for formulating a clear African strategy to eliminate terrorism and to dry up its sources of financing, said Prime Minister Moustafa Mabdouli on behalf of the president in an online speech at a meeting of the African Union's Executive Council.
Sisi highlighted Egypt's endeavor to provide assistance to the African countries by intensifying training courses for their people, combating terrorism, and participating in UN peacekeeping missions, through the Sahel and Sahara Counter-terrorism Centre in Cairo, Madbouli said.
President Sisi also affirmed “Egypt's readiness to provide more support at the bilateral level or through the AU mechanisms,” Madbouli continued.
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi, then-chair the African Union, thanked President El-Sisi for Egypt’s readiness to enhance the capabilities of various African countries, especially through training courses in the field of combating terrorism.
Presidency of CISSA
In December, Egypt hosted the 17th conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Service of Africa (CISSA).
Via a videoconference, Sisi welcomed the heads of the African security and intelligence services during their meetings in Cairo, affirming the need to continue exerting effort to preserve the security of the African continent and achieve the aspirations of the peoples of its countries.
Egypt’s General Intelligence Service was handed over the presidency of the CISSA from Nigerian intelligence for a year.
President Sisi added that Egypt, during its one-year presidency, would continue its contributions to achieving security integration and coordination to help overcome the security risks that surround African countries.
He added that the committee would continue fighting extremist ideologies that call for hatred of the other, calling for intensifying coordination between all concerned continental mechanisms to eliminate sources of terrorism and to protect the peoples of the continent.
President Sisi also highlighted the pivotal role of the CISSA and all African security agencies to play an effective role in confronting the Coronavirus crisis, which has become an escalating threat to security and stability in all African countries.
He said that it is necessary to follow up and monitor the rest of the security challenges of illegal immigration, unemployment, cybersecurity and organized crime.
Presidency of African Union
Egypt presided over the African Union in 2019, through which it has worked on enhancing cooperation among the countries of the continent to achieve peace and face challenges, on top of which is terrorism based on the principle of “African solutions to African problems”.
Egypt handed the AU presidency to South Africa for 2020, during his participation at the 33rd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
In a speech, Sisi reviewed Egypt’s achievements during its presidency of the AU in 2019, saying it managed to reinforce the state of security and peace in the continent through the principle of “African solutions to African problems,” despite challenges of terrorism and extremism, especially in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa.
Egypt has implemented the principle of “African solutions to African problems” through many initiatives, Sisi said, including hosting two consultative summits on Libya and Sudan, and testing it on several issues such as that of Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan and Central Africa.
For his part, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa praised the hard work President Sisi did during his presidency of the AU, according to media reports.
Proceeding with counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, Sisi stressed, during his speech, Egypt's full readiness to host an African summit dedicated to discuss forming an African force to combat terrorism, with the aim of achieving peace and security in the continent, under the supervision of the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS).
Sisi hailed the efforts Egypt made during its presidency of the African Union, and highlighted the establishment of a framework to develop the African infrastructure 2021-2030, including the project to put a main plan to establish a global power interconnection project, and the project to establish a land road between Egyptian capital of Cairo and South Africa’s capital of Cape Town.
How successful was Egypt's leadership of the African Union? Read more.
Pushing development, GERD dilemma
Egypt has affirmed in multiple occasions that it supports development efforts in Africa unless they contribute to harming the country’s vital interests and people’s rights.
The country’s diplomats and officials have affirmed that Egypt is in favour of development projects establishing in the African countries, including the Julius Nyerere Dam in Tanzania.
However, they affirmed that the Egyptian support to the development projects depends on the measures taken to secure the interests of all involved parties in these projects.
In November, Sisi hailed the Julius Nyerere dam project, saying it will “ensure the best performance levels and construction standards so that the dam becomes a pioneering model and symbol of cooperation and friendship between Egypt, Tanzania and all sisterly African countries”.
However, Egypt and Sudan have been in a decade-long dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Addis Ababa is constructing on the Blue Nile.
While Egypt and Sudan have called for a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operation of the mega dam to secure the interests of their peoples and water rights, Addis Ababa has implemented two phases of the filling and started the dam operation unilaterally without the consent of the two downstream countries.
Egypt has been keen over the past years to affirm to the leaders of other African countries its fixed stance on GERD, saying it supports development in Ethiopia but still adheres to the need of signing a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Supporting peace efforts
In 2020, South Sudan has worked on ending years of civil war and unveiled a new government in a major step to establish a government of national unity.
In a phone call with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in March 2020, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s willingness to continue providing all forms of support to South Sudan in order to back the peace process in the African country.
Sisi also called on the conflicting sides in South Sudan to continue working towards fulfilling all the aspects of its 2018 peace deal.
In Sudan, Egypt in November welcomed a new political agreement signed in Khartoum between former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Chairman of Sudanese Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan to end the political crisis in the country.
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hailed the signing of the agreement, saying it stems from the “wisdom and responsibility” to reach a consensus to make the transitional period in Sudan successful.
In Tunisia, Egypt has repeatedly affirmed backing the measures taken by President Kais Saied to achieve security and stability in the country amid the year-long political crisis in the country, which started in July 2021.
In Libya, Egypt has affirmed its support for the security and stability of the Arab country, calling for an exit for the foreign mercenaries and holding elections to achieve the people’s interests in achieving development and prosperity.