German FM hails Egypt’s success to consolidate religious tolerance, freedom of worship

Amr Kandil , Saturday 12 Feb 2022

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock hailed Egypt’s success to consolidate the values of religious tolerance, freedom of worship, and acceptance of others, saying Egypt has become a role model regionally and internationally in this regard.

Annalena Baerbock
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a press conference with her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry at Tahrir palace in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022.AP

Baerbock, who is currently paying her first visit to Egypt, made the remarks as she met with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Saturday. Her visit comes as part of her Middle East tour, which included Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

Baerbock, 41, the German FM under German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, is the first woman ever to serve in the post of foreign minister in Germany and also the youngest to ever hold the post.

Scholz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), was sworn in as Germany’s chancellor in December.

El-Sisi asked Baerbock to convey his greetings to Scholz, highlighting the importance Egypt attaches to enhancing cooperation with Germany in different fields, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

Baerbock hailed Egypt as an axis of stability and balance in the Middle East and Africa, lauding the country’s efforts to counter terrorism, extremist thought, and irregular migration.

She also praised Egypt’s hosting of millions of refugees, integrating them into its society and providing basic rights to them.

Enhancing partnership, cooperation

The new German government is keen on enhancing relations with Egypt to ensure the success of the ongoing partnership between the two countries, Baerbock said.

Egypt considers its relations with Germany as a main axis for Egyptian relations with Europe, El-Sisi said, affirming the great importance Egypt attaches to its firm relations with the German side, the statement said.

El-Sisi also highlighted German companies’ strong and unprecedented engagement in the ambitious development plans that Egypt has implemented over the past years.

Furthermore, the president voiced his aspirations to continue the ongoing cooperation with the new German government on the basis of mutual respect and balanced partnership, given each of the two countries’ pivotal role within their regions.

He also said Egypt looks forward to the increase of German companies’ investments in Egypt, expressing his aspirations to also benefit from German experience and technology in the field of industry localisation in Egypt.

Baerbock said Egypt’s ongoing mega development projects nationwide would contribute to providing promising opportunities for maximising German investments in Egypt, especially in the fields of infrastructure, transportation, renewable energy, electricity, and education.

Cooperation on climate, hosting the COP27

Additionally, the German FM praised the significant role played by Egypt in the framework of international and regional efforts to face climate change, expressing her aspiration to enhance cooperation with Egypt in this regard, the statement said.

Egypt is scheduled to host the 27th session of the United Nations’ Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

The country is keen to ensure that the conference yields optimal outcomes and witnessed the largest possible number of participants, including representatives of civil society organisations that operate in the field of the environment, El-Sisi said, vowing to grant them the freedom to express their opinions.

Egypt will also seek to build on the international momentum generated by the COP26 in Glasgow and come up with ambitious results and initiatives that contribute to strengthening international climate action at all levels.

This especially includes reducing emissions, building the capacity of developing countries to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change, and enhancing developing countries’ access to climate finance, El-Sisi affirmed.

Discussing Libyan, Palestinian issues

El-Sisi and Baerbock also discussed developments related to a number of regional issues of mutual concern, the spokesman said, adding that they agreed on continuing coordination on facing ongoing challenges in the region, especially the Palestinian and Libyan issues.

The president agreed with Baerbock on the importance of concerted joint efforts between Egypt and Germany to implement the outcomes of the Berlin Conference on Libya.

This comes with the aim of settling the situation in the Arab country in a comprehensive way that contributes to eliminating terrorism, protecting the state’s resources and national institutions, and restoring security and stability in Libya.

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and German Ambassador in Cairo Frank Hartmann attended the meeting.

Earlier on Saturday, Shoukry and Baerbock held consultations on human rights, the Palestinian cause, the crisis in Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

In a press conference following his meeting with Baerbock, Shoukry highlighted cooperation with Germany regarding arms export, saying “Egypt’s recourse to Germany for its arming needs is a means to protect its national security and borders.”

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