Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry during his meeting with the Egyptian parliament’s foreign relations committee on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Khaled Mashaal)
“Official statements are not enough, and they should be supported by actions, and I can also say that actions are the only way to restore relations with Turkey to their normal position,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry in a statement delivered before the Egyptian parliament’s foreign relations committee on Sunday
Shoukry indicated that the ministry was closely following the recent Turkish statements announcing the opening of communication and dialogue channels with Egypt.
“Egypt has always been keen on resuming normal relations between the Egyptian and Turkish people, however, political relations between the two countries in the past period were negatively impacted by the positions of politicians in Turkey, especially their negative attitude towards Egypt,” he said.
Shoukry said “contacts between Egypt and Turkey are just confined to the normal diplomatic channels at the moment.”
“But if we [found] that Turkey will take serious actions and adopt new policies and objectives that go in line with Egypt’s objectives and policies, which always seek the spreading of stability in the region, rejecting interference in the internal affairs of states, and maintaining mutual respect, I can say that we will be able to put the groundwork necessary for establishing normal relations with Turkey,” he said.
Responding to a question on current relations with Qatar, Shoukry said “we hope that Qatar will remain committed to Al-Ula agreement”.
“We are currently evaluating Qatar’s commitments towards relations with Egypt and if we see that Qatar is serious about these commitments, we will be ready to turn the page, scrap boycott, and resume normal relations,” Shoukry said.
Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, left, during his meeting with the Egyptian parliament’s foreign relations committee on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Khaled Mashaal)
Shoukry said Egypt has already received positive signals from officials in Qatar, showing they are serious about their commitments and keen to maintain communications with Egypt.”
Shoukry also tackled relations with Ethiopia, accusing the country of not showing any serious political will about reaching an agreement on its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
“But in spite of this, we will continue to hold contacts in order to reach a fair agreement to all parties,” Shoukry said, indicating that “Egypt is ready to deal with all developments and possibilities, and we have reliable partners who are trying to find common ground that could lead to reaching a fair agreement.”
Shoukry, however, warned that Ethiopia’s unilateral actions could be harmful to all parties.
“Remember that Ethiopia’s first filling of the dam left negative effects on Sudan,” he said.
Responding to another question about the UNHRC’s recent negative statement about human rights in Egypt, Shoukry said Egypt is giving great importance to the issue of human rights.
“The state is keen that citizens fully exercise their rights, not to mention that the constitution and laws are all clear in stating their respect for human rights,” he said.
Shoukry, however, said “the problem is that some organisations have a very narrow-minded approach to human rights, and I mean that they focus on negative aspects only, ignoring the economic and social dimensions of human rights.”
He, however, said “all I can say in this respect is that we have nothing to hide or fear in this issue, and that Egypt has made great successes in many fields such as women rights.”