Egypt s Foreign Minister and President Designate of the 27th session of the United Nations Conference Sameh Shoukry during his speech in front of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday 24 September, 2022. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Foreign ministry Facebook page.
In a speech at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Shoukry said that this food crisis is the result of the failure of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Egyptian FM said that due to its geographical location, Egypt is ready to be a hub for storing grains for the world, while stressing that one out of five citizens in Africa suffer from hunger.
Shoukry said that Ukrainian-Russian war has exacerbated the global economic crisis, and that developing countries are facing a huge debt burden. The FM called for a global initiative between creditor and debtor countries in which debt is replaced with investments to help developing countries.
“Egypt is seeking a stable world away from tensions,” Shoukry said.
He also criticised the “double standards” the UN displays in dealing with crises, while asserting that Egypt completely supports efforts to reform the UN.
“I call those gathered to respect the UN system and to reform it so it can be better,” he said, adding that Egypt fully supports African countries' demand to reform the Security Council.
Shoukry also addressed the issue of water scarcity, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
“There is unfortunately grave danger as a result of upstream countries ignoring downstream countries,” Shoukry said, referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, the main tributary to the River Nile in Egypt and Sudan.
“Anyone who thinks that adhering to peaceful means of settling water disputes is a weakness is completely mistaken. We have committed to restraint, but that does not mean complacency,” Shoukry said.
The Egyptian FM reiterated Egypt and Sudan’s longstanding demand that Ethiopia sign a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation policies of the dam in accordance with the Declaration of principles on the GERD signed in Khartoum in 2015, and the UN Security Council’s presidential statement issued in September 2021.
Shoukry called on the international community, including the UN and the Security Council, to uphold international law and support the Egyptian and Sudanese people in the GERD issue.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, the Egyptian FM reiterated Egypt’s total support for the two-state solution involving the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem at its capital.
Shoukry also said that Egypt is working with its neighbours to resolve the crises in Syria, Yemen and Iraq in a way that safeguards their sovereignty and unity.
Concerning Libya, Shoukry affirmed Cairo’s support for efforts by Libyan officials to hold presidential and parliamentarian elections at the nearest possible time. He also stressed the need for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries and the disbanding of militias in Libya.
On the upcoming COP27, which Egypt is hosting in Sharm El-Sheikh in November, Shoukry said that Egypt aims to ensure that climate pledges are fulfilled, as well as reach outcomes concerning reducing emissions and raising climate finance.