'No conflict with Saudi over UN vote on Syria': Egypt FM

Ahram Online , Saturday 22 Oct 2016

Sameh Shoukry
File Photo: Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday during a press conference with his Spanish counterpart in Cairo that there is no conflict between Egypt and Saudi Arabia over Egypt’s vote in a UN resolution on the Syrian civil conflict.

This is the first official statement by Egypt's foreign minister since reports emerged in the past weeks suggesting tensions between the two countries after Egypt voted on 8 October in favour of two rival UN Security Council resolutions that would have, to different degrees, scaled down the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Both resolutions failed to pass, but Egypt’s backing of the Russian draft resolution reportedly sparked tensions with Saudi Arabia, which has opposed Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

On 10 October, Saudi Aramco informed the state's Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation that it would halt the supply of refined oil products to Egypt, which prompted the oil ministry to contract “other foreign suppliers” to provide the country with its petroleum needs

Last week, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi insisted in an interview with Egyptian state-owned newspapers that “strategic relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not affected by anything and we should not allow anything to disrupt these relations.”

On Saturday, Shoukry said that a draft resolution on Syria is currently being reviewed by Egypt, Spain and New Zealand, where the three countries look to make the humanitarian situation in Syria a priority.

The draft resolution will focus on the providing of humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians and will stress the importance of putting an end to the fighting through a political solution between the Syrian factions.

Shoukry added that Egypt hopes to see a balanced resolution passed which involves discussions between the international community and Arab partners in order to save the Syrian people from terrorist organisations and foreign military interventions.

On Thursday, Egypt said it is mediating between the United Nations bodies operating in Syria and the Syrian authorities to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Aleppo.

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