Claims Egypt taking sides on Russia-Ukraine conflict ‘far from reality’: FM

Amr Kandil , Friday 14 Apr 2023

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry described claims that Egypt takes sides on the Russian-Ukrainian war as “far from reality”, stressing that Cairo encourages a peaceful solution to the conflict.



He added in an interview with Egyptian satellite TV channel TeN on Thursday that such a peaceful solution is in the interest of Egypt, which has been suffering from the heavy repercussions of the war.

“Egypt has been deeply and negatively affected by this conflict and the consequent inflationary pressures, hike in energy prices, and impact on food security,” Shoukry stressed.

“Reaching a peaceful and negotiated solution that spares the international community the implications [of the conflict] is in Egypt’s interest,” he added.

Egypt has sought to form the incumbent liaison group of the League of Arab States tasked with following the Ukrainian crisis, Shoukry noted. He added that Egypt has also continued to contact the parties to the conflict to encourage a peaceful solution.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post cited in a report a leaked Top-Secret US document which purportedly indicates that Egypt was planning to supply 40,000 missiles and other weapons to Russia secretly.

However, an Egyptian official source denied the claims, stressing that Egypt’s position regarding the Russia-Ukraine war is based on noninvolvement in the crisis and keeping equal distance from both sides, Al Qahera News TV reported on Monday.

Egyptian-Iranian relations

During the interview, Shoukry also spoke about the Egyptian-Iranian relations amid speculations that Cairo may follow in Riyadh’s footsteps by repairing its relations with Tehran.

In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed in a deal to re-establish diplomatic ties and reopen embassies after years of tension. Egypt hailed the deal, which was brokered by China, as an “important” step to remove points of tensions in the region.

“Egypt evaluates the developments and takes steps that are in its interest and in the interest of the national security of its Arab brothers,” Shoukry stressed.

He added that he will probably have a chance to discuss with the Saudi brothers the implications for Arab national security of normalising ties with Iran during the consultative meeting that brings together the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and the foreign ministers of Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

The meeting will be held in Jeddah on Friday.

‘Positive atmosphere’ for Egypt, Turkey

Shoukry hailed his meetings with the Turkish officials on Thursday, saying they were held in a “positive atmosphere” that saw transparency in reviewing the issues between the two countries.

He added that the two countries are prepared for joint work in order to move from determining points of consensus to achieving goals that benefit both sides.

The Turkish side also showed an understanding of the importance of the Libyan issue and its impact on the Egyptian national security, Shoukry said, adding that this is considered a “good gesture”.

“We both aspire to see a stable and united Libya that has full sovereignty over its lands. We also want to see the end of foreign intervention and influence in Libya and to usher in a new period of stability for both the region and Libya,” Shoukry noted.

Shoukry expressed Egypt’s understanding of Turkish interests in Libya, provided that these interests do not have negative impacts on Egypt.

He added that Egypt never sets out preconditions for bilateral relations between countries as long as they do not harm Egyptian national security.

Shoukry’s Thursday visit is his second to Turkey in less than two months in an effort to normalise Egyptian-Turkish relations that had been strained for over a decade.

In a joint press conference with Shoukry in Ankara yesterday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that talks with Egypt have achieved substantial progress on the issue of appointing ambassadors between the two countries.

Developing Turkish policy on Syria

Shoukry also stressed that Turkey needs to develop its policy on Syria in a way that keeps pace with the status quo in the Syrian lands and supports Syria’s restoration of its sovereignty over all its territories.

During his Thursday press conference with Cavusoglu in Ankara, Shoukry said that both Egypt and Turkey agree on ensuring the unity of Syrian territories and the exit of all foreign forces.

Turkey has deployed troops in parts of northern Syria over the past years to fight Kurdish groups it views as “terrorists,” a move that Egypt has condemned for the threats it poses to the region.

For his part, the Turkish FM said yesterday that it was important to Turkey, as a neighbour of Syria, to protect the integrity of its territories more than others.

“Counter-terrorism efforts means ending divisions in Syria and preventing terrorism from spreading to Turkey”, he added.

Mending Turkish-Greek ties

Egypt, through its strategic relations with Greece, can help both Ankara and Athens to reduce or even end their tensions, Shoukry said.

“Egypt will spare no effort in case the two parties have the will and in case they accept an Egyptian role,” Shoukry added.

Encouraging GERD deal

Turkey, for its part, seems willing to encourage the parties in the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to reach a legally-binding agreement, the top Egyptian diplomat noted.


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