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Egypt Consolidates Mediterranean Presence

Egypt Consolidates Mediterranean Presence

Monday, 24 February, 2020 - 11:15
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a summit between Arab league and European Union member states, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Cairo - Mohamed Nabil Helmy

Cairo has assumed the presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) as part of efforts to strengthen its presence in the Mediterranean countries through several measures and initiatives, amid declared tension with Turkey.

Egypt, which co-founded the Union for the Mediterranean in 2008, is striving to launch initiatives that deepen ties with European neighbors, as well as regional partners.

On Friday, an Egyptian deputy has taken over the presidency of the PAM for a one-year term as of February 2020. Karim Darwish, who led the Assembly’s meetings in Athens, said that his country was now “occupying influential positions in many regional and international organizations, thanks to a policy based on closer relations with all powers.”

Bahaa Mahmoud, researcher in European affairs, said that the Egyptian moves in the Mediterranean “can be considered an attempt to balance the forces and to curb Turkey’s influence, which is now seen by Egypt as an [enemy state].”

Cairo’s measures are not confined to parliamentary affairs. In December, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate with the Union for the Mediterranean for a meeting of youth in the region.

The meeting is aimed at addressing challenges facing regional countries and supporting initiatives.

According to Mahmoud, “Egypt is trying to build deeper relations and links with the countries of the Mediterranean, whether through development programs or energy transfer agreements, including gas, with the aim of guaranteeing its interests in decisions related to the Mediterranean region.”

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