CAIRO: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called for stepped up cooperation and dialogue between Europe and its Mediterranean neighbors in North Africa and the Middle East to deal with the rising threats of terrorism and illegal immigration.
The appeal came during the EU neighborhood policy review held in Barcelona, Spain Monday.
Speaking at the informal ministerial summit of foreign ministers from the two regions, Shoukry “underlined the importance of Arab coordination to phrase the foundations the neighborhood policy with the EU in a way that meets the needs of Arab countries,” foreign ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty told Youm7 Monday.
Hundreds of Egyptians, in search of better work opportunities, have been caught in similar attempts to migrate to Italy and other EU states over the past few years. A number have drowned in the process.
Foreign ministers and representatives from the 28 EU member states along with delegations from Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and other Arab states took part in the 1-day conference.
On the sidelines of the conference, Shoukry presided over a meeting of the Arab group taking part in the EU neighborhood policy review, according to Atty.
“The EU neighborhood policy with south Mediterranean countries should be based on mutual respect without the interference in countries’ internal affairs,” said Shoukry.
The best way to work together for the security of Europe, North Africa and Middle East regions, is to boost cooperation in all areas: “ security of course but also economic, cultural, political,” said Shoukry.