During a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Cairo, El-Sisi stressed the importance of finding alternatives and solutions to the conflict in order to ensure that people circumvent the negative impacts of the crisis.
The president exchanged views with Duda — who is paying his first visit to Egypt — on the crisis’ causes as well as means of overcoming them, he said in a joint presser following the meeting.
The Egyptian stance is based on establishing calm, reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict, and exerting all efforts to achieve this, whether on the bilateral, regional, or international levels, he added.
The president also reviewed Egypt’s attempts to contribute to settling the crisis through an initiative to form a ministerial contact group within the framework of the Arab League.
Last April, the group visited Moscow and Warsaw to meet with the foreign ministers of the concerned countries to urge all parties to make way for dialogue and negotiation until a settlement is reached in order to prevent the scourge of war and its dire economic effects.
Russia and Ukraine — respectively the largest and fifth-largest wheat exporters in the world — together account for 29% of international annual sales.
However, the conflict — which is raging for its fourth month — has led to a disruption of the Black Sea’s supply chains of fertilisers, wheat, and other commodities from both countries, sending global prices soaring.
Duda said Poland views Egypt as a prospective supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European country, and vowed absolute support to the ongoing negotiations between Egypt and the European Commission regarding Egyptian LNG deliveries to the European Union.
On a bilateral level, El-Sisi said the discussions with his Polish counterpart tackled in detail means to further bilateral relations across different fields to achieve the interests of both the Egyptian and Polish peoples.
El-Sisi added that this requires intensifying mutual visits at various levels to deepen cooperation in areas of common interest, particularly economic cooperation, which he said boasts promising opportunities.
The Egyptian president also called for increasing trade exchange, especially in exporting urea, phosphate, methanol, and construction materials from Egypt to Poland.
Furthermore, he called for intensifying cooperation in the fields of digital transformation, new and renewable energy, water desalination, waste recycling, as well as tourism, and medical services in order to benefit from Poland’s expertise in these fields.
Additionally, he expressed his aspiration to transfer and localise Polish technology in Egypt.
Trade exchange between Egypt and Poland has increased to an unprecedented $720 million in 2021, an increase of 20 percent compared to 2020, Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry said in a speech during the Egyptian-Polish Business Forum in Cairo on Monday.
El-Sisi welcomed Poland’s decision to resume the flights of the national Polish airline between Cairo and Warsaw as of 31 May.
“This is especially important to facilitate transportation and investment between the two countries, attract Polish investments to Egypt, and increase the flow of Polish tourism to Egypt’s destinations,” he stressed.
Poland ranks fifth among the countries exporting tourism to Egypt, El-Sisi pointed out.
Duda said he is glad with the resumption of direct flights by LOT Polish Airlines, the national airline of Poland, between Cairo and Warsaw starting from 31 May.
The Polish leader said five flights will be operated per week, which will contribute to developing economic and tourism relations.
Hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens are coming to Egypt for tourism, Duda said, expressing hope that the flow of Polish tourists will increase in Egypt in the coming period.
Human rights, Terrorism
The Egyptian president also said he briefed Duda on all of Egypt’s developments in areas related to the work of the EU, such as human rights and combating terrorism.
El-Sisi highlighted Egypt’s decision to launch its first National Strategy for Human Rights in September 2021, as well as the progress that has been made in the field of promoting citizenship rights, religious freedoms, and combating extremism.
He also voiced his aspiration to have Poland support Egypt’s efforts in eradicating terrorism by highlighting the national efforts exerted with the aim of maintaining regional and international security and stability.
Furthermore, El-Sisi emphasised the need to double down on efforts to confront terrorism internationally, particularly with regard to the financing of terrorism and providing safe havens to terrorists.
The meeting also touched on reviewing efforts made by Egypt to stop irregular migration from Egypt’s coasts to Europe through the Mediterranean, saying that such efforts place a burden on the Egyptian economy.
Egypt is currently hosting more than six million refugees, who all have access to essential rights and services within the country, he added.
This has had the best effect in redirecting the pressure of migration away from Europe, whose countries have been recently witnessing an intense influx of migrants, El-Sisi pointed out.
During the Visegrad Group (V4) Summit that was held in Budapest, Hungary in October 2021, El-Sisi said that he does not allow his country to be a transit point for irregular migrants seeking to reach Europe.
Sharm El-Sheikh and the COP27
Additionally, El-Sisi praised Poland’s willingness to provide expertise regarding Egypt’s hosting of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh this November, especially that Poland has hosted three previous editions of the summit.
The president also noted that he reached a consensus with Duda on the importance of supporting the stability of social and economic development while implementing measures concerning climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Duda said he may attend COP27 in person and stressed that he will ensure that his country is well represented at the conference.
Furthermore, the meeting tackled the decade-old dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Duda voiced Poland’s support for Egypt regarding the GERD talks, stressing that his country understands the importance of the River Nile and the GERD issue for Egypt.
El-Sisi reviewed Egypt’s efforts over the past decade to negotiate and reach an equitable and legally binding agreement.
He also said Egypt seeks to reach a deal that ensures its water interests and the rights of current and future generations to the Nile — the country’s main source of water — would remain intact and, at the same time, ensures the achievement of the development goals of the Ethiopian people fairly.
The Palestinian cause
The talks also tackled a number of issues in the Middle East, including the Palestinian cause, El-Sisi said, adding it is a core issue in the region.
He stressed the importance of the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The president also called for ending the settlement policy and the annexation of Palestinian lands, as well as paving the way for conditions conducive for serious and constructive negotiations that lead to a sustainable settlement to this prolonged conflict.
Inking MoUs in various fields
El-Sisi and Duda attended the signing of a number of cooperation agreements between the two countries in various fields.
The agreements were signed by Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation El-Sayed El-Quseir and Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski.
Also, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Jablonski signed an MoU for cooperation in sports and youth and another MoU between Egypt's institute for Diplomatic Studies and the Diplomatic Academy of the Polish foreign ministry.
Duda affirmed that his visit to Egypt will contribute to ushering in a new era of bilateral relations.
He expressed happiness with his first-ever official trip to Egypt, saying Egypt and Poland have historical, long-standing diplomatic relations spanning almost 100 years.
The Polish leader asserted his country is seeking to deepen relations with Egypt, with a special focus on the aviation and economic and tourism fields.
Duda said he invited the Egyptian leader to visit Warsaw.