Arab states willing to mediate in Russia-Ukraine crisis: Egyptian FM

Amr Kandil , Monday 4 Apr 2022

Arab countries are willing to mediate between Russia and Ukraine to achieve an urgent halt of military operations in Ukraine, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.

Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry participates in a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul-Gheit in Moscow, 4 April 2022. Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Shoukry made the remarks in a press conference in Moscow for the liaison group of the Arab League (AL), which was formed during the 157th session of the Council of the AL in March to tackle the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on the Arab region.

The group includes representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, and the UAE – a current member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The Arab side has affirmed the need for continued direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Shoukry said after a session of consultations between the liaison group and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the presence of Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.

During the presser, Shoukry affirmed the Arab states’ keenness to mediate between the two parties of the conflict in order to start trust building procedures and pave the way for a sustainable political solution to the crisis.

The top Egyptian diplomat affirmed that the desired political solution between Russia and Ukraine should be achieved within the framework of respect for international law, the United Nations Charter, and the sovereignty of states.

“This should ensure that the conflict is resolved in a peaceful and acceptable manner by both parties and in a way that leads to tackling the roots of the crisis,” Shoukry said.

During the consultations with Lavrov, the liaison group called for the parties of the conflict to stop escalation and military actions, Shoukry said. The group also called for immediately resorting to peaceful and diplomatic solutions that are based on dialogue, Shoukry added.

The two sides also discussed how to overcome the economic repercussions of the crisis and to ensure that they do not harm the people of the region and the world, Shoukry said.

The Arab group also affirmed the need for continued coordination to preserve the security and safety of the Arab communities currently residing in the conflict areas and to facilitate the crossing of those wishing to travel into neighbouring countries.

Speaking during the presser, Abul-Gheit highlighted the serious economic impact of the crisis on the economies of the Arab countries, including on wheat imports, tourism, and development plans.

The Arab group is scheduled to hold consultations with Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba in the polish capital of Warsaw on Tuesday to seek a diplomatic solution to end the war.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Egypt has called for a political solution to the crisis based on dialogue and warned of the global crisis’s impact on the Arab countries in the political, security, and economic levels.

In a speech delivered at the 157th ordinary session of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level in Cairo on 9 March, Shoukry called for unified Arab efforts to avoid as much as possible the direct and indirect impact of the crisis on Arab nations.

Mitigation efforts

Since the start of the crisis, Egypt has been working to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the economy, including countering a surge in the prices of basic commodities.

In March, Egypt officially requested support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement the country’s comprehensive economic programme amid the ongoing global challenges.

The cabinet said in a statement that the new request for IMF support “possibly includes new financing” to support the country's plans for comprehensive economic reforms.

Egypt also said it plans to diversify sources of tourism in light of an anticipated drop in visitors from Russia and Ukraine, which comprise the largest groups of tourists to the country.

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