Egypt's Sisi meets EU's Tusk; demands Israel end violence against Al-Aqsa mosque

Ahram Online , Saturday 19 Sep 2015

The leaders discussed the refugee crisis facing the Middle East and Europe as well as the recent Israeli violent acts at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian protester
Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian protester following a raid by Israeli occupation forces on Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem's Old City, September 14, 2015 (Reuters)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi condemned the “daily Israeli violence towards Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque" in a joint press conference with the president of the European Council Donald Tusk on Saturday.

El-Sisi also renewed his support for the Palestinian people and leadership, adding that Egypt looks forward to finding a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel.

The Egyptian president met with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas last Thursday and voiced his discontent at Israel's recent attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also urged his British counterpart Philip Hammond in a phone call on Thursday for the UK and the international community to “immediately interfere” to stop Israel's attacks.

Last week, Israeli forces stormed the mosque compound for a period of three days, firing rubber bullets and tear gas at Palestinian worshippers, injuring dozens.

El-Sisi also stated that he discussed with the European Union Council president the refugee crisis and its effects on both Europe and Egypt, highlighting the importance of solving the root of the problem and preserving human life.

El-Sisi said that the when the parliament is elected, which is expected to occur before the end of the year, it would be the last step towards achieving democracy in Egypt. He added that the parliament would protect the rights of the citizens.

In his speech, Donald Tusk said that he discussed with El-Sisi the "scourge of terrorism" and how it affects both Egypt and Europe and added that the European Union (EU) would continue fighting it with its partners, based on the rule of law.

Tusk continued by saying that the EU would continue supporting Egypt's social and economic reforms to the benefit of the country's citizens.  

The EU president also highlighted the importance of finding a solution to the refugee crisis as soon as possible.

Tusk summoned EU leaders to attend an emergency summit on Wednesday 23 September to discuss a proposal to distribute 120,000 asylum seekers across the 28 different countries. The summit was called for after EU interior ministers failed on Monday to agree on a quota system for the distribution.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi previously told a delegation from the Italian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that Egypt hosts around five million refugees who are receiving the same health and educational services as Egyptians, despite the economic burden the Egyptian government carries.

The European Council is where the highest level of meetings between EU countries takes place, as the leaders from each nation attends them.

Europe has been facing a major migrant and refugee crisis with 430,000 crossing the Mediterranean Sea this year alone, according to the International Organization for Migration. Many are from conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq.



Short link: