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Sisi to meet Jordanian king for Mideast talk

Also on Thursday, Egypt's foreign minister meets his Russian counterpart in Moscow

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 Feb 2015
Sisi with King Abdullah
Jordan's King Abdullah (R) meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the Royal Palace in Amman December 11, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is set to meet the Jordanian King Abdullah II to discuss political developments in the Middle East on Thursday, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported Thursday.

Cairo has adopted a series of diplomatic moves to bolster its anti-terror efforts, after Cairo launched airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militant group targets in Libya on 16 February.

Jordan, currently one of ten non-permanent member-states of the UN Security Council, has lately contributed to these efforts by submitting a draft resolution to the UN body over at the behest of Egypt.

The draft resolution seeks to lift a four-year-old arms embargo on Libya in order to allow the internationally-recognised Libyan government to fight against its rivals, including IS, in Libya.

Jordan is also a member of the US-led coalition against the IS group.

Its airforce has participated in airstrikes against IS group targets in Syria and Iraq.

Heading a ministerial delegation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to Moscow, the Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Thursday over the same matter.

According to the foreign ministry's Facebook page, the foreign ministers of Palestine and Guinea, Azerbaijan's ambassador to Russia and OIC's secretary-general attended the meeting.  

Badr Abdel Atti, spokesman of the foreign ministry, said that both top diplomats discussed the situation in war-torn Libya and its "effect on international peace and security."

Shoukry and Lavrov also tackled means of supporting the "legitimate government in Libya and empowering it to combat terrorism", and encouraging political dialogue between all parties.

"The two ministers examined the Arab draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council on Libya," Abdel Atti stated in a press statement posted on the ministry's page. "Lavrov emphasised Russia's current efforts in the Security Council to pass the resolution and increase consultation between member-states concerning such issue."

He added that they discussed Syria's crisis and the Egyptian endeavors to unite the "Syrian opposition to push for a political solution" to the country's civil war.

Part of the talks also involved the Egyptian-Russian agreements between El-Sisi and Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the latter's two-day visit to Cairo in February, Egypt's state-run news agency MENA reported.

Last week, in an interview with Russian state international news service Sputnik, Shoukry expressed his belief that Russia would endorse the draft resolution and stressed the importance of discussions between Egypt and Russia regarding their "shared goals" in Libya and efforts to check the deterioration of the country’s security.

Shoukry had flown to New York on 15 February immediately after the IS group released a video showing the beheading of 20 Egyptian Christians was posted online to rally support for Egypt's military response against the militants as well as lobby for an international intervention in Libya.

The resulting Egyptian draft resolution however did not propose a foreign intervention in Libya, but instead stopped at proposing an end to the arms embargo, to allow weapons to flow to forces allied with the internationally-recognised Libyan government in the east, with whom Egypt coordinated its airstrikes.

In a related context, Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met on Wednesday a Libyan delegation from the internationally-recognised government headed by premier Abdullah Al-Thini in Cairo.

Mahlab said Egypt backs the Tobruk-based government in Libya as a "legitimate government" and hopes for a "strong, unified state" in Libya. He urged all Libyan sides to prioritise the country's national interest and combine their efforts against terrorism, which "threatens Libya and the Arab world as a whole."

Al-Thini praised Egypt's support to Libya in facing the "armed terrorist groups", mentioning that both sides are in "full coordination in terms of the war on terror." He said that Egypt and Libya share a "common fate" and accentuated the necessity of an Arab coalition aimed at combating terrorism.

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