Arab League Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: EU Summit Rare Opportunity for Open Dialogue

Saturday, 23 February, 2019 - 07:30
Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh – Mohammed Nabil Helmi and Sawsan Abou Hussein

The first Arab League-European Union summit will kick off in Egypt on Sunday with senior officials from 50 countries expected to attend.

The two-day Sharm el-Sheikh-hosted event will be chaired by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and seek to bolster economic, political, security and commercial cooperation between the two sides. Libya and Syria will likely top the political agenda.

The EU will be represented at the talks by President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. More than 20 European heads of state or government will be at the summit, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Arab League Assistant Secretary General Houssam Zaki said that the summit was a “rare” opportunity for open dialogue on all issues that concern that two sides.

Held under the theme of “Investing in stability,” the summit will open on Sunday with a speech delivered by Sisi and head of the EU. Delegations are scheduled to start arriving in Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday.

The agenda will cover counter-terrorism affairs, illegal migration, cross-border organized crime, regional conflicts and the Palestinian cause, Zaki told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Secretary of the Palestinian National Council Mohammed Sbeih confirmed that President Mahmoud Abbas will take part in the event.

“The summit is very important for Egypt and Arab countries through the joint dialogue that will be held to reach an understanding on several contentious issues,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Moreover, he said that Sharm el-Sheikh’s hosting of the summit will give Sisi and Arab countries a great boost given Egypt’s standings and role in combating terrorism.

The summit will open on Sunday afternoon and conclude Monday with a joint press conference.

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