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Friday, 15 November 2019

A friendship letter from Egypt

Egypt strives to serve its own interests and the international community by consistently promoting security and stability at home and in the region

Karim Darwish , Tuesday 29 Oct 2019
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Views: 1176

By virtue of its history, geography, civilisation, its genius of place, its international standing, the uniqueness and authenticity of its character as a nation and a people, its awareness, its courage and steadfastness, its conscientious leadership and its soft power, Egypt will emerge victorious over its enemies, overcome its domestic challenges, and excel in the performance of its international and regional roles. 

Researchers, policy-makers, politicians and, indeed, people around the world understand that when a country enjoys such a long and unbroken reputation, other countries and international organisations will seek to invest in that country either to promote bilateral interests or to serve the types of global causes that require the concerted efforts of nations with the will and power to advance such causes. 

Egypt, throughout its history and especially since it recovered its authentic identity in the wake of the 2013 Revolution, enabling it to activate a comprehensive foreign policy able to contend with the thorny issues facing the region and the world, has consistently promoted a judicious and far-sighted vision. This is one that seeks to prevent the degeneration of countries in the region or elsewhere into failed states, seeing this as a tragedy for the peoples of those countries as well as for other countries in the world, especially many of our Western partners. 

As the world well knows, Egypt strives to serve the international community by consistently promoting security and stability in the region. It performs its various roles honourably, without capitalising on issues or attempting to intervene in the domestic affairs of other countries. Egypt has always stressed the need to protect the unity and territorial integrity of all countries and the need to respect their peoples’ right to seek peaceful solutions to their problems free from external meddling. It has simultaneously condemned interventions that have involved sending in foreign fighters and arming local factions and militias in order to undermine efforts to reach such peaceful solutions and jeopardise states to the benefit of terrorist organisations that do not believe in the nation-state.  

Egypt is the only international partner in the region with the vision and integrity, the human and intellectual outlook, the political and strategic capacities and the power to offer a model of religious tolerance and moderation. It stands in stark contrast to various false models that others have sought to market or promote. Prime among these has been that of Turkey, a country whose long intervention in Syria has been a main cause of the destruction of that country and the displacement of millions of Syrians that Turkey has confined in refugee camps reminiscent of the gruesome images of other camps from decades past. 

Turkey has also been in the business of monetising such refugees. It has earned billions of dollars from this trade, while simultaneously using the refugees to blackmail Europe. Today, Turkey is further coercing the refugees and rounding them up preparatory to deportation. In the most recent stage of its intervention, Turkey has invaded Syria and occupied another portion of that country’s territory, further aggravating the agonies of the Syrian people and once again delaying efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully, achieve stability and begin the process of reconstruction. Turkey has also enabled the release of terrorists, including Islamic State (IS) group combatants, which it has armed and helped to travel to Libya.

Egypt, by contrast, has opened its doors to our Syrian brethren, whom it has treated as fellow Egyptians. Egypt has never attempted to convert them or their cause into a form of currency. 

Egypt has sought to transform the Mediterranean into a region of good neighbourliness, cooperation and partnership. It has pursued comprehensive remedies for illegal migration that have not relied solely on security means to prevent migrants crossing borders and their tragic deaths in the Mediterranean. Part of these efforts has included a drive to urge our European partners to invest more in development and capacity-building in the countries from which the migrants originate. 

The “lone-wolf” terrorist attacks that have taken place in some of our partner countries over recent years stem from the return of foreign jihadists from arenas abroad and from those countries’ ignoring the problem of extremism and offering extremists a safe refuge, despite Egypt’s advice and caution. Unfortunately, some of these countries only listened to Egypt’s warnings after the casualties from such terrorist attacks had opened their eyes. 

Thanks to its presidential, governmental, parliamentary and grassroots diplomacy over the past five years, Egypt is widely regarded as an honest and sincere partner, a pioneer in development and a peacemaker. Egypt plays a role that no other country can rival. It extends its hand in peace in order to promote cooperation, partnership, beneficial exchanges and the realisation of mutual national interests, while remaining true to its national interests and established rights and principles. 

Egypt will continue to stand up against the campaigns of lies and misinformation against it and to oppose outmoded schemes of colonialist expansionism. Egypt knows that its faithful partners are convinced by the substance of this message, much to the dismay of those who seek to undermine it. 

Long live Egypt.

*The writer is a member of Parliament.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 31 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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