President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in Biarritz for the three-day G7 Summit. Invited in his capacity as chairman of the African Union by French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AP)
President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi was in Biarritz earlier this week for the three-day G7 Summit. Invited in his capacity as chairman of the African Union by French President Emmanuel Macron, Al-Sisi delivered a speech outlining Africa’s vision on ways to achieve peace and sustainable development and build a partnership between Africa and the G7 countries based on mutual interests.
Al-Sisi also addressed the threat posed by terrorist organisations and the proliferation of armed militias. The impact of the ongoing conflict in Libya on the security and stability of its citizens and on neighbouring countries demanded greater concerted international efforts to end the crisis, he said.
In his speech Al-Sisi stressed the need to promote gender equity and empower women across the continent. “We believe African women can push our development forward,” he said.
On the sidelines of the summit President Al-Sisi discussed bilateral relations and regional and international developments with a number of leaders. With Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte he discussed ways to counter terrorism and combat illegal migration. Al-Sisi addressed the ongoing investigation into the February 2016 abduction and torture of Giulio Regeni, saying efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice were continuing. The two men also reviewed ways to strengthen economic relations and capitalise on trade and investment opportunities.
Al-Sisi said Cairo is unwavering in its support for a political solution in Libya that respects the country’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the Libyan National Army in its battle against terrorism and armed militias.
In France Al-Sisi hosted a business lunch for African leaders which brought together Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Senegalese President Macky Sall, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Burkina Faso’s President Roch Kaboré and Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki. During the lunch Al-Sisi stressed that relations between Africa and its international partners must be based on equality and achieving common interests.
He explained the importance of foregrounding the development priorities of individual African states — eradicating poverty, combating climate change, fighting endemic diseases, creating job opportunities and empowering women, within the framework of Africa’s Agenda 2063. Invitees to the lunch foregrounded greater continental integration and efforts to liberalise intra-African trade by activating the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Al-Sisi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss ways to strengthen cooperative frameworks between Germany and African states and the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA), initiated during Germany’s presidency of the G20 in 2017.
On Monday Al-Sisi met with US President Donald Trump. During the meeting Trump expressed Washington’s full support for Egypt’s counter-terrorism efforts while President Al-Sisi underlined the importance of concerted international efforts to halt the flow of funds, arms and recruits to terrorist organisations.
The two also discussed regional and international developments and Al-Sisi confirmed Egypt’s support for efforts to seek a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on international resolutions.
Meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the two leaders agreed to consolidate bilateral ties and cooperation frameworks between their countries and to continue political coordination over a range of regional issues. Johnson confirmed his government’s determination to prioritise cooperation with Egypt in the economic and development spheres and applauded the economic progress that Egypt has made and its role in promoting peace, stability and security in the Middle East.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 29 August, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly newpaper