Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed on Wednesday the need to support efforts to achieve the stability of Libya and its national institutions.
The minister made the comments in a meeting on Libya within the framework of the Berlin Process with the participation of a number of neighbouring countries, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Shoukry affirmed the need to respond to the Libyan people’s legitimate aspirations for a prosperous and sovereign Libya, the statement added.
A number of top officials attended the meeting, including head of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Menfi, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.
The meeting was held during the third day of Shoukry’s visit to New York.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry holds a meeting with France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in New York, 22 September 2021. Egyptian foreign ministry
During the day, Shoukry gave a speech during the high-level meeting celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action adopted in 2001 to fight racism.
During his speech, Shoukry said “the manifestations [of intolerance] are still showing their ugly face to us, taking many forms,” despite the positive steps achieved to face racial discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance.
These manifestations are “represented in discrimination and hatred on the basis of religion, race, colour and others,” Shoukry said during his speech.
“The observer of the escalating trend taken by the phenomenon of racism in recent years notes that [racism] targets people of African origin, Arabs, Muslims, immigrants and asylum seekers in the countries receiving them,” Shoukry added.
Shoukry also warned of the continuation of some “wrong policies and elements of political discourse to form stereotypes about people of certain ethnicities or followers of certain religions and link them with some criminal behaviour.”
The Egyptian foreign minister said such discourse sometimes comes “under the pretext of protecting freedom of opinion, thought and expression, in a way that contradicts the values of democracy, equality and respect for the other.”
He warned that this discourse also violates the peremptory rules of the international law regarding the criminalisation of racism.
Shoukry highlighted the urgent need to take decisive steps to criminalise racism in all its forms as well as to enact effective measures to ensure accountability in this regard.
He also called for spreading societal awareness of the dangers of this phenomenon, and strengthening national institutions tasked with combating it.
Meeting top diplomats
During the day, Shoukry held separate meetings with each of his counterparts from France, Ireland and Vietnam, the Egyptian foreign ministry said.
Meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Bui Thanh Son, Shoukry discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
They also coordinated efforts between the two countries in multilateral forums.
Shoukry started his third day in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA with a meeting with Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign and defence minister, an Egyptian foreign ministry statement read.
The top ministers discussed means to boost bilateral relations and coordinate on regional and international issues in light of Ireland’s current presidency of the UN Security Council.
Later in the day, in a meeting with France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Shoukry discussed boosting the strategic relations between Egypt and France, a separate statement by the Egyptian ministry read.
The meeting aimed to foster coordination on regional and international issues of great importance for the two sides, the statement added.
Shoukry participated on Tuesday in the opening of the 76th session of the UNGA high-level segment.
The top diplomat held separate meetings with his counterparts from Estonia, Tunisia, Rwanda, India, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Ukraine, Pakistan, as well as Josep Borrell — the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy.
During his visit to the US, Shoukry is set to take part in several events to express Egypt's vision and stances towards the current issues in the region as well as means of supporting the pillars of peace and security at the international and regional levels.
The foreign minister will also discuss mechanisms of reinforcing multilateral action in regard to the issues on the agenda of the UNGA’s high-level segment.
Shoukry is also expected to meet with senior UN officials and other leaderships of international and regional organisations.
The UNGA’s 76th session aims to “build resilience through hope — to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations.”