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Aboul Gheit to Asharq Al-Awsat: Sharm el-Sheikh Summit Opens Permanent Arab Dialogue with Europe

Aboul Gheit to Asharq Al-Awsat: Sharm el-Sheikh Summit Opens Permanent Arab Dialogue with Europe

Monday, 25 February, 2019 - 09:15
FILE PHOTO: Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Arab League's secretary general, gestures as he speaks at the Rome Mediterranean summit MED 2018 in Rome, Italy. Reuters
Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) - Sawsan Abu Husain
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the first Arab-European summit held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh reflected the desire of the two sides to work together and to build bridges.
In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat from Sharm el-Sheikh, Aboul Gheit said the joint statement, to be issued at the end of the summit, would be brief, “but it will point to a minimum of consensus between Arabs and Europeans on political and international issues.”
The high-level representation at the summit “reflects the interest and desire between the Arab and European worlds in building bridges of cooperation and mutual understanding,” he affirmed.
The two-day summit, which kicked off on Sunday, is held under the title of “Investing in Stability.”

“The slogan of the summit is a great message on the internal and international levels, and a signal from the European side that the stability of the Arab countries is now required,” Aboul Gheit stated.
Asked about the Arab-European priorities to be tackled at the summit, the Arab League chief said: “Discussions will touch on all international and regional issues in order to formulate a position that supports peace and stability and maintains common interests.”
Among the main topics, he cited fighting terrorism and drying up its resources, ending the presence of militias, in addition to emigration and climate change.
On whether Yemen will get its share of political talks, he said: “Everyone is calling for the implementation of the Sweden agreement, the adoption of a political solution and the provision of humanitarian support,” underlining Arab support for the legitimate power in Yemen.
Aboul Gheit, however, noted that it would be difficult for the summit participants to draw a roadmap for the implementation of resolutions on Yemen, “because there is a divergence of views, for example disagreements between France and Italy; and the same applies to Syria.”
As for the communique to be issued at the end of the high-level meeting, he said: “The document will be very brief and was discussed by the representatives of the EU, the Arab League and Egypt, the host country.”
Arab-European cooperation is on track, according to the Arab League secretary-general, who also pointed to many agreements between the two sides.

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