SAMEH HASSAN SHOUKRY SELIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said his country, which has made civilizational contributions throughout history, was at the forefront of the United Nations and has contributed to its goals and principles. In a world of interdependence and globalization, “no region is stable unless all regions are stable”, he added. Pointing to the repercussions of Ukraine’s conflict, he pointed out that Egypt — together with other Arab and African neighbours — has created the Arab Contact Group and has participated in the African Leaders Initiative to find a peaceful settlement. Spotlighting structural deficiency in addressing political, socioeconomic and security crises, he said that “major Powers” are monopolizing decision-making in “total indifference” to the aspirations of peoples and communities. In this regard, he called for the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration to be the basis upon which to expand Africa’s representation in the Security Council. “Only the granting of two permanent seats for Africa, with full rights and privileges, is sufficient to correct this injustice done to our continent,” he declared.
Further, he underscored the need for reforming the international financial structure to assist developing countries in achieving sustainability, calling for enabling more concessional loans and grants, creating sustainable debt mechanisms for low- and middle-income countries, and re-structuring the debt structure by swapping debts through development projects. Pointing to the scarcity of drinking water, he spotlighted Egypt’s water crisis, adding: “It is one of the least rainy countries, whereas its population exceeds 105 million people.” The country needs to re-use water and import “virtual water” — for $15 billion annually — in the form of food. He recalled that Ethiopia has unilaterally —and without previous impact studies — built a Grand Renaissance Dam, noting that Cairo is trying to reach a binding agreement on the rules of its operation, while also taking into consideration interests of the neighbouring countries.
Warning against Islamophobia, including Qur’an burning, he reported that Egypt has launched national strategies on human rights, women’s empowerment and combating violence against women. He also pointed out that the Government empowers youth and disabled people, fights against discrimination and protects religions freedoms, recalling that Egypt was first to make peace in the Middle East. Spotlighting the country’s efforts towards creating peace in Sudan, Libya and Syria, he highlighted Cairo’s anti-terrorism activities in Africa through its co-presidency of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. As well, the Government has launched a summit for Sudan’s neighbouring countries to settle the current crisis, while working towards a ceasefire. Reiterating Egypt’s support for Libya’s political solution conforming to the principle of national ownership, he underscored the importance of overcoming the transitional period and conducting presidential elections.