Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday that the chaos and rapid change witnessed in the region over the past five years has created political and social vacuums that have allowed the spread of terrorists and sectarian militias.
Shoukry said at the Manama Dialogue conference on Middle East security in Bahrain – organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies – that the weakening of state institutions in countries like Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen since 2011 has allowed the spread of terrorist groups.
A statement on the ministry's official Facebook page quoted the FM’s outlining of the main pillars of Egypt’s regional foreign policy.
Regarding the Syrian conflict, Shoukry said that Egypt's stance is based on two main pillars. The first is to maintain national unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian state and prevent the collapse of its institutions.
The second pillar is to “support the aspirations of the Syrian people in rebuilding their country through a mutually acceptable political solution.”
On Libya, the FM said that Egypt supports the establishment of a new, more inclusive government that is more representative of the Libyan people.
Shoukry also addressed Egyptian-Saudi relations during the conference, according to Reuters.
“Let me reassure you that from Egypt's perspective we have a very clear vision as to the fundamental nature of that relationship ... Arab national security depends on the cohesion and understanding that exists between Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” Shoukry was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“The sensitivity that exists in ... what may be perceived as differences of opinion might be exaggerated in the press to take dimensions that go beyond the inherent special relationship,” Shoukry said.
Shoukry added that Egypt is not attempting to rebuild its relations with Iran, even though it still engages with the Islamic republic in multilateral forums.
“Egypt has maintained a severance of diplomatic relations [with Iran] over the past 25 years and has taken no efforts to change that situation.”
“Egypt has always taken the opportunity... to reemphasise the positions of the Arab nation and the interest of the Arab nation vis-à-vis what may be the expansionary policies of Iran,” Shoukry said.