'Liberation of occupied Arab lands is only way to end Arab-Israeli conflict,' Egypt's Sisi says at Arab Summit

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Mar 2019

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, center, and his Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, left, attend the oppening of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia, Sunday, March 31, 2019 AP

"The liberation of all Arab occupied territories is the only way to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict," Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in his speech during the opening session of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunisia on Sunday.

The president said that the crises that broke out in many Arab countries eight years ago threaten the existence of nation states and the principle of Arab unity, and stressed the necessity of unifying Arab action to face these challenges.

El-Sisi said that the persistence of the historical injustice against the Palestinian people will continue to be a source of disgrace for the international community as long as international legitimacy resolutions are ignored.

El-Sisi reaffirmed the Palestinian people's right to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and said that the Israeli occupied Golan Heights must be returned to Syria in order to work towards a comprehensive and just peace.

“The Arab countries have chosen peace and presented a comprehensive peace initiative in exchange for the liberation of all Arab occupied territories and the implementation of international legitimacy resolutions in this regard,” El-Sisi stated.

The Egyptian president said that peaceful negotiations based on the Geneva accords are the only way out to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Egypt, along with Arab countries, has rejected President's Donald Trump's recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and also opposes Trump's previous decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

On terrorism, the Egyptian president called for a comprehensive strategy in the confrontation all forms of terrorism and extremist ideologies that incite the killing of innocent people in violation of all tolerant religious teachings and humanitarian norms.

El-Sisi said that confronting terrorism, which threatens the existence of nation states in the Arab region, requires the quick implementation of the comprehensive approach to combating the phenomenon as stipulated by the Arab League and adopted by the recent Arab summit in Dhahran in Saudi Arabia.

“This confrontation will not succeed without strenuous action to reform religious discourse to reflect the true spirit of forgiveness, far away from ignorant claims or calls of violence, division or sectarianism,” the Egyptian president said.

"Arab blood is sometimes shed by Arab hands, and other times by foreign terrorists and militias affiliated with regional powers interfering in our nations' affairs," El-Sisi added.

On Syria, the Egyptian president called for immediate action to begin negotiations to achieve a comprehensive settlement that preserves the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and eliminates terrorism in the country.

On settling the Libyan crisis efforts, El-Sisi urged immediate action to implement the UN Security Council initiative adopted 18 month ago.

“What is needed [in Libya] is a political will that transcends all personal interests and ambitions. The international community must firmly stand against the forces -- which are known to all -- that continue to smuggle weapons and fighters into Libya without any accountability,” the Egyptian president said.

On Yemen, El-Sisi called for implementing the recent Stockholm agreement and the Houthi withdrawal from Al-Hudaydah port as a start of resuming negotiations in accordance with UN resolution 2216, the Yemeni national dialogue and the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative.

El-Sisi arrived in Tunis on Sunday for the summit, where he was welcomed by Tunisian Minister of Defence AbdelKarim Zbidi before holding a meeting with Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi.

The two-day summit, titled 'Uniting Vision and the Word,' is tackling a number of Arab issues, including the Palestinian issue and the conflicts in Syria and Libya. 

The summit is expected to adopt a resolution against the US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is welcomed by Tunisian Minister of Defense Abdelkarim Zbidi upon his arrival in Tunis to attend the 30th Arab Summit in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on March 31, 2019 Reuters

Iraqi President Barham Saleh (L), Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, pose for a group photograph with other Arab leaders during the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019 AFP

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