First Arab-European Summit to Tackle Immigration, Terrorism, Palestinian File

Friday, 22 February, 2019 - 09:45
Paris, Cairo - Michel Abu Najem, Mohammed Abdu Hassanein

The first Arab-European summit will be held on Feb.24-25 in Sharm El-Sheikh, under the main title of “Investing in Stability.”

The summit will be jointly chaired by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

In addition to side events hosted by the International Congress Center, the summit will include two plenary sessions and a closed session devoted to regional issues and challenges, as well as opening and closing sessions. The results will be presented in a joint statement and an Arab-European press conference.

European diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the importance of the summit stemmed from two main points: First, it will include “two neighboring groups from 50 countries (28 European and 22 Arab) invited to cooperate and coordinate… on common strategic interests.” Second, “the magnitude of the challenges they face and have to overcome together.”

The topics to be discussed, according to the sources, are many and varied, ranging from trade and investment to migration and joint management of thorny files, such as security, the fight against terrorism, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

According to Arab diplomatic sources, Egypt “has completed logistical and practical arrangements to host the summit.”

The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Djibouti, Libya, Somalia and the Secretary General of the Arab League will attend the Summit, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun will be absent, while Lebanon will be represented by its Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, will also not attend the high-level Arab-European meeting. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not invited.

On the other side, the summit will be attended by the president of the European Council, the European Commissioner, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the German Chancellor, the Austrian Chancellor and the Romanian President.

Unlike Germany, the French president, the British prime minister and the Spanish prime minister will be represented by their foreign ministers.

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