Arab-EU leaders stress determination to fight terrorism, cultural and religious intolerance

SHARM ELSHIEKH, The Arab and European leaders have stressed that enhancing regional co-operation is the key to addressing the common challenges faced by the EU and Arab countries and emphasised their determination to combat extremism and cultural and religious intolerance.

This came during the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit Declaration issued on Monday as part of the first Arab-EU Summit hosted by Egypt. Leaders of League of Arab States, LAS, and European Union, EU, member states held the first Summit on 24-25 February 2019 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, under the co-chairmanship of Abdelfattah Al Sissi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, to discuss and address common and current challenges across the two regions.

The two blocs sought to embark on a new era of cooperation and coordination; confident that strengthened interaction between the member states of LAS and EU has great potential to enhance the stability, prosperity, and well-being of the two regions and the world at large, working in tandem within the multilateral, rules-based global order.We agreed to further strengthen our cooperation towards security, conflict resolution and socio-economic development throughout the region.

“There are differences between us. But we face common challenges and have shared interests. We need to cooperate and not leave it to global powers far from our region,’President Donald Tusk tweeted.

The declaration renewed commitment to effective multilateralism and to an international system based on international law in order to tackle global challenges, including through increased cooperation between the LAS, EU, the United Nations, UN, and the African Union,AU. We reiterated our full commitment to the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It also stated that this commitment will guide the efforts to achieve shared objectives, including in tackling common challenges such as the phenomenon of migration, where we will be inspired by the Valletta principles; the protection of and support to refugees in accordance with the international law; the upholding of all aspects of international human rights law, condemnation of all forms of incitement to hatred, xenophobia and intolerance; the strengthening of the fight against irregular migration and scaling up our joint efforts in preventing and fighting migrants’ smuggling, eradicating trafficking in human beings and combating those who exploit vulnerable people; and to global efforts to tackle climate change, notably the Paris Agreement.

The declaration agreed to further strengthen our cooperation towards security, conflict resolution and socio-economic development throughout the region.

It also reaffirmed the importance to strengthen economic cooperation between the two sides, establishing a strong partnership based on investment and sustainable development. The audience are committed to developing a positive cooperation agenda especially in the fields of trade, energy, including energy security, science, research, technology, tourism, fisheries, agriculture and other mutually beneficial areas; all with the aim to create wealth, increase growth rates and reduce unemployment to better respond to our peoples’ needs.

The declaration reaffirmed common positions on the Middle East Peace Process, including on the status of Jerusalem, and on the illegality under international law of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. We reiterated our commitment to reaching a two-state solution on the basis of all relevant UN resolutions, as the only realistic way to end the occupation that began in 1967, including of East Jerusalem, and to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians through direct negotiations between the parties that addresses all final status issues.

They affirmed the need to preserve the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Syria, Libya, and Yemen and emphasised their commitment to the UN-led processes and their full support to the UN Special Envoys for Syria and Yemen and to the UN Special Representative for Libya.

The summit marked the start of a new dialogue between the EU and the LAS. Leaders committed to hold EU-LAS summits regularly, with the next summit set to take place in Brussels in 2022.

Source: Emirates News Agency