ABDEL FATTAH AL SISI, President of Egypt, said that while the pandemic revealed humanity’s common traits, it also revealed its shared challenges, no matter the level of development. Citing the relevance of this year’s theme on building resilience and recovery, he called on developed States to recognize that they received the majority of vaccines. In that regard, all obstacles to access to vaccines must be removed and the African continent must be prioritized as the world’s most affected region. The pandemic exacerbated decades-long difficulties, necessitating international support for developing States and middle-income countries, which carry a significant percentage of the global population. Citing $650 billion in special drawing rights provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he stressed prioritizing debt reduction, especially for African countries, providing preferential rates and concessional funding.
With environmental degradation posing a threat to the world, as demonstrated by severe climate events in recent months, he underlined a common, moral responsibility to future generations. The international community must avoid reaching “the point of no return”, he said, noting Egypt will host the twenty-seventh Conference of the States Parties in 2022. Turning to the threat of terrorism, he said extremist ideologies must be countered with a comprehensive approach beyond military confrontation and embrace social, economic and ideological factors. All States must uphold their responsibilities, holding accountable those who foster and support terrorism, including by allowing foreign fighters through their territories. He noted that the human rights situation in Egypt witnessed marked developments, adding that its membership in the Peacebuilding Commission demonstrated international community confidence. Egypt was ranked as the seventh-largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
He called for a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace solution, with a Palestinian State along the 1967 border and East Jerusalem as its capital. The international community must help improve Palestinian living conditions, with donors supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). To that end, his Government was providing $500 million for reconstruction efforts. Highlighting the challenges faced by the wider region, in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Yemen, he emphasized there was no alternative to the inclusive nation State.
While spotlighting Egypt’s geographical and existential continuity with Africa, he stated cooperation must be a two-way street. The Nile River remains Egypt’s lifeline, he stressed, describing national angst over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Citing 10 years of intransigence from Ethiopia and Sudan, his Government has sought Security Council help to bolster mediation efforts and remains committed to a legally binding agreement on the issue. As multilateralism remains the only refuge from escalating conflicts, he stressed: “Let us arm ourselves not with the logic of force, but the force of logic.”