Egypt stresses support to all Arab nations amid current challenges, welcomes recent reconciliations

Ahram Online , MENA , Thursday 9 Sep 2021

During a ministerial session of the Arab League, the Egyptian foreign minister highlighted the role of the outside interventions in increasing polarisations and rivalries between Arabs

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry addressing a ministerial session of the Arab League Council that was held in Cairo on Thursday, 9 September 2021 (photo courtesy of the Egyptian foreign ministry)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has reiterated Egypt’s commitment to stand by all Arab countries to endure the current exceptional circumstances, voicing Cairo's welcome of the recent reconciliations between Arabs.

"The Arab region continues to face political challenges and insurmountable issues that obstruct achieving our development goals and legitimate aspirations," Shoukry told the 156th ordinary ministerial session of the Arab League Council that was held in Cairo on Thursday.

"The foreign interventions and foreign ambitions are still working relentlessly to seize our resources, distract us from our priorities, and plunge us into conflicts that only serve their interests," he appended.

The "flagrant" interventions, Shoukry added, resulted in depletion and exhaustion of Arab resources as well as led to polarisations and rivalries between Arabs, a matter that he said should come to an end.

Minister Shoukry said Cairo welcomes the recent Arab reconciliations, hoping these are completed based on mutual respect for national sovereignty.

The top diplomat voiced Egypt's "relentless" efforts to offer all means of support to resolve the decades-running Palestinian-Israeli conflict through reaching a fair, enduring and comprehensive settlement that restores to the Palestinians legitimate rights and establishes an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 4 June, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The minister stressed the importance of supporting efforts to restore security and stability to Libya and help in holding Libyan elections on time on 24 December to strengthen the state institutions and fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people.

He urged for an end to the humanitarian suffering in Syria and Yemen by pushing for a settlement to their internal conflicts that protects their territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He renewed rejection of repeated Houthi attempts to attack Saudi territories, voicing support for all measures taken by the kingdom to defend its national security and the safety of its people.

He also condemned any attempts to threaten the freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, pointing out ongoing efforts with regional and international partners to confront threats to global shipping routes.

GERD agreement

Shoukry also reiterated Egypt's stance on the decade-old issue caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), stressing the importance of reaching a legally binding agreement.

Shoukry called for an agreement that preserves Addis Ababa's development goals, but without harming Cairo and Khartoum's water rights.

"Adopting the rules for filling and operating the dam as per a legally binding agreement between the parties involved will prevent the region from sliding into a more complex scene with undesirable consequences," the Egyptian minister stressed.

Ethiopia, an upstream country, has pinned hopes of development and power generation on the multi-billion dollar hydropower project, while Egypt, a downstream country, fears an impact on its water supply, and Sudan, the other downstream country, is concerned about regulating flows to its dams, which are located near to the GERD.

The two downstream countries have been negotiating with Ethiopia for ten years to reach a comprehensive and legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD, but to no avail, as the upstream country seeks mere guidelines that can be modified any time at its discretion.

Ethiopia has completed the first and second filling of its controversial dam in 2020 and 2021 despite a lack of agreement with Cairo and Khartoum.

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