Egypt FM meets King Felipe VI, Spanish officials in Madrid
Ahram Online, , Wednesday 14 Feb 2018

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with King Felipe VI of Spain in Madrid during a two-day visit that started on Wednesday, according to a statement by the foreign ministry, which praised the historical political and economic relations between Egypt and Spain.

"King Felipe offered his condolences to the Egyptian people and government for the victims of terrorism, and praised the success of the Egyptian army's ongoing Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 to combat terrorism,” the foreign ministry’s statement said.

The king also said that he is keen to take Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi up on his invitation to visit Cairo as soon as possible, given that he us the only member of the Spanish royal family not to have visited Egypt.

Shoukry expressed Egypt's desire to enhance economic relations with Spain in various fields and discussed with the king Egypt's ongoing economic reforms, which aim to achieve significant development, noting the importance of Spanish companies contributing in the fields of infrastructure and sustainable energy.

The Egyptian foreign minister also discussed Egypt's efforts to curb irregular migration, saying that the country has been successful in preventing migrant boats from sailing for Europe from Egypt since September 2016.

Following his meeting with King Felipe, Shoukry spoke with his Spanish counterpart Alfonso Maria Dastis in a meeting that was attended by Spain's state minister of defense and the Egyptian ambassador in Spain.

"The Egyptian foreign minister and his Spanish counterpart agreed on establishing a periodic political consultation mechanism between the two countries on the level of foreign ministers," the foreign ministry statement said.

Shoukry praised the positive results of the close cooperation between the two countries on regional and international issues during Egypt's membership in the UN Security Council.

The Egyptian foreign minister also demonstrated to his Spanish counterpart Cairo's vision on regional and international issues, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Egyptian-Ethiopian relations, the conflicts in Libya and Syria, as well as efforts to combat terrorism and irregular migration.

"The [FMs] agreed on the importance of upgrading economic and trade exchange relations between the two countries, which reached $2 billion in trade exchange in 2017," the ministry’s statement said.

Egypt's President El-Sisi last visited Madrid in 2015, where he met with King Felipe to discuss bolstering bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues, namely the threat of terrorism and irregular migration.

Shoukry also discussed with the Spanish state minister of defence enhancing military cooperation between the two countries, praising the “outstanding” military relations between Egypt and Spain.

Shoukry is set to leave Spain for Munich to attend the Munich Security Conference (MSC), scheduled for 15-18 February, where he will be the main speaker at the conference's session on combating terrorism.