Shoukry reviews African states' issues, Egypt's plan to tackle them



Mon, 11 Feb 2019 - 01:13 GMT


Mon, 11 Feb 2019 - 01:13 GMT

FILE – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry – Reuters

FILE – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry – Reuters

Sameh Shoukry says Turkey's role in Libya is 'worrisome,' and affirms that Egypt's stance toward Qatar remains unchanged as Qatar has not changed its behavior.

CAIRO - 11 February 2019: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry highlighted the historic ties between Egypt and African states, saying that a political agenda has been set for cooperation with the African countries during Egypt's presidency of the African Union (AU) in 2019.

Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received on Sunday the chairmanship of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government from Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame for a one-year term.

During his interview with both Khaled Abu Bakr and Wael al-Ebrashi, on the sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Minister Shoukry commented on the "sad" moment when the African Union voted on freezing the membership of Egypt following the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

He said that it happened due to a "misunderstanding" of the incidents that had occurred in the country at the time.

Egypt then managed to explain the circumstances behind the past incidents, Shoukry said, adding that African leaders have understood that the Egyptian people have acted in a way that would protect the African countries.

In June 2014, the AU's Peace and Security Council unanimously agreed to unfreeze Egypt's membership.

Limiting disputes

During the interview, Shoukry affirmed the necessity of setting mechanisms to limit the spread of disputes in Africa.

African people flee their countries to escape armed disputes in the continent and avoid the state of instability in terms of economic and security situations, besides the spread of terrorism, he said.

"Ambitions, will and joint work" are required to end the African disputes, Shoukry said, adding that Africa is already witnessing positive indications in this regard.

"For sure, the armed conflicts and competition over the past years between political parties that resorted to [using] weapons instead of resorting to mechanisms of dialogue ... is [behind] the increase in the number of the displaced," he stated.

African integration

Achieving African integration and signing African Continental Free Trade Area will contribute to increasing mutual dependence between the African states, said Shoukry.

He stressed that the 2063 Plan, with the development programs it includes, willenhance the capabilities of the African countries and improve their standard of living, and thus make a large market out of the African countries, through which theycan interact and rely on their own capacities.

Egypt always seeks to achieve mutual cooperation with African states, Shoukry said, adding that "African integration closes the door to foreign desires."

Situation in Libya

The minister described the role played by Turkey in some countries especially Libya as "worrisome,"adding that Egypt will not accept this role to extend to other countries in the African continent.

Shoukry said that that what is happening in Libya has a direct impact on Egypt. He added that "Securing the Egyptian-Libyan borders cost [Egypt] a lot of effort, resources and martyrs ... We know very well what our interests are and we have the ability to defend them ... At the same time, we do not [reject] other relations as long as they do not directly cause harm and destabilization to us."

He added that interventions from some countries that he described as "outside of the regional scope" have a "very bad impact", including backing terrorist organizations, transferring weapons and foreign fighters into the Libyan territory.

Shoukry said that it is unpredictable that candid, recognized and legitimate elections can be held in Libya unless security and stability are achieved in the country so Libyan citizens can vote, not fearing the presence of militias and extremist groups.

On the other hand, Shoukry welcomed positive contribution than can be provided by some foreign parties, as long as their efforts are consistent with African goals, including renouncing extremism, and are based on non-interference in the internal affairs of the African countries.

Strained ties with Qatar

Commenting on the Qatari crisis, the Egyptian minister said that "the situations have not changed much," adding that restoring ties with Doha requires that the latter changes its policies.

"The Egyptian stance is clear; there will be no restoration of the nature of relations except in case there is a tangible change in the Qatari policies so as not to have negative impacts on Egypt and its people," Shoukry stated.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017, charging the peninsula of funding terrorism, harboring extremist figures and intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries in the region.

Doha has denied the charges, and has renewed its terror list many times since the boycott. However, the Arab Quartet seemingly has not seen the Qatari procedures sufficient to end the ban and restore relations.



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