FM Sameh Shokry (3rd from left) in round table discussion at the Munich Conference (Photo courtesy of Egypt foreign ministry)
Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry delivered a speech in Germany on Saturday stressing the need to redefine terrorism and unite international efforts to combat it, while setting aside double standards.
Shoukry delivered the speech at the Munich Security Conference, during a special session on "Jihad after the Caliphate", laying out Egypt's counter-terrorism vision and efforts before security officials and foreign ministers from various nations, ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a press release.
Shoukry presented Egypt's comprehensive approach to combating terrorism, including security and military efforts – such as the ongoing Operation Sinai 2018 – alongside social, economic, and ideological considerations.
Operation Sinai 2018 was launched on 9 February, involving land, naval and air forces, as well as the police and border guards, targeting "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations" in northern and central Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.
On Sunday, Shoukry stressed the need to intensify counter-terrorism efforts at the international level, especially concerning the financing of terrorism and providing safe havens to terrorists.
He pointed to various areas of weakness that limit the ability of the international community to combat terrorism, including vague definitions of terrorism that lack any scientific basis, such as, "violent extremism", or saying that terrorist acts resemble rebel actions, or defending the actions of those who incite violence using the claim of "defence of freedom of expression", which he said ultimately leads to justifying acts of terrorism.
Another point of weakness, according to Shoukry, is the double standards adopted by some nations. He stressed the importance of adopting a unified international approach and dropping the illusion that there are different types of terrorism.
Shoukry also remarked on the title of the session, rejecting the use of the word "Jihad". He said the activities of the Daesh terrorist group are very far from the noble idea of Jihad, which aims at improving the self. He said it is impossible to equate the actions of Daesh with the age of the Islamic Caliphate, which enlightened the path of humanity.
Egypt has on several occasions called on the international community to unite efforts to combat terrorism and eliminate its financers, while taking a strict stance against those countries that support it.