Egypt warns against destabilizing actions in Horn of Africa

Radwa ElSayed Hani , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt's foreign minister, warned on Friday against actions that undermine stability in the Horn of Africa and increase tensions between the African countries, calling for concerted efforts to contain regional crises instead of perpetuating a policy that irresponsibly fuels conflicts.

Heads of States and members of the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), pose for a photo at Speke resort convention centre in Kampala, Uganda, 19 January, 2024. AFP


Speaking before the member states at the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Shoukry pointed out the scarcity of water in Egypt, calling for cooperation and respect for the rules of international law regarding transboundary waterways, instead of unilateral measures that do not consider the economic, social, and environmental impacts on all parties and further threaten the regional stability.

Shoukry affirmed Egypt's solidarity with Sudan and its people, expressing deep concern about the ongoing military confrontations and reiterating Egypt's call for all parties to prioritize the great interest of Sudan, commit to a ceasefire, and resort to dialogue.

He also noted that Egypt had received more than 350,000 Sudanese citizens since the beginning of the Sudanese crisis, adding that Egypt had launched Sudan’s neighboring countries’ mechanism to support the Sudanese national vision to resolve the crisis.

Shoukry said Egypt's efforts come in line with its commitment to preventing bloodshed of the Sudanese people and alleviating their humanitarian suffering. 

More than 13,000 people have been killed since the Sudanese crisis began in April, according to a conservative estimate by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, and the United Nations says more than seven million people have been displaced.

Moreover, he stressed Egypt's full support for the unity of the Somali territories and Somalia’s sovereignty over its entire territory, expressing Egypt's condemnation of any unilateral measures taken by any regional party to threaten the unity and integrity of Somalia.

On Thursday, the Somali foreign ministry said no space for mediation unless Ethiopia retracts its illegal and controversial deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland and reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia. 

Early January, Somaliland agreed to lease 20 kilometres of its coast for 50 years to Ethiopia, which wants to set up a naval base and a commercial port in that area, giving the landlocked Ethiopia long-desired access to the Red Sea, a key waterway for global trade.

Israeli war on Gaza

During his speech, Shoukry noted that the Middle East is currently witnessing a widespread crisis, as a result of Israel's brutal war and fierce aggression on the Gaza Strip, which left more than 24,000 deaths, most of whom are women and children.

He further said that the destruction has reached an unprecedented level in Gaza, sparing no medical, humanitarian, or basic infrastructure facilities, as well as places of worship, and targeting individuals in the medical and humanitarian fields, UN employees, and journalists.

"These violations have forced more than 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to displacement, facing the Israeli practices of siege, starvation, hindering humanitarian aid, and persistent violations of international law and international humanitarian law," Shoukry added.

Moreover, he called on the NAM to adhere to its historical stances, condemn the illegitimate Israeli practices, and reject the displacement of the Palestinian people and the liquidation of their cause.

Peace and security in the Middle East cannot be achieved without ending the Israeli occupation, Israel's withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state over the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, Shoukry emphasized.

As the longest and bloodiest Israeli war on Gaza entered its 106th day, Israel is facing growing pressure domestically and internationally to stop its most destructive war on the Palestinian territories in 75 years.

Shoukry, who is leading the Egyptian delegation at the 19th NAM Summit at the Ugandan capital Kampala on behalf of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, held bilateral meetings with several counterparts during the summit, taking place on 19-20 January.

The NAM was founded in 1961 in the former Yugoslavia. It includes 120 member states and is headquartered in Central Jakarta, Indonesia.

The movement was created through an initiative by the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. It consisted of nations aligned with neither the Eastern nor Western bloc during the Cold War.​

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