Monday,27 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1273, (3 - 9 December 2015)
Monday,27 May, 2019
Issue 1273, (3 - 9 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Climate talks

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi travelled to France to attend the UN Conference on Climate Change, Reem Leila reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

President Abel-Fattah Al-Sisi arrived in Paris on 29 November to participate in the UN Conference on Climate Change, which is held from 30 November to 11 December. Egypt currently chairs the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), and Al-Sisi delivered a speech on behalf of all CAHOSCC members.

The summit, which aims to finalise a long-term deal to limit carbon emissions, will be attended by the heads of 145 countries who hope to hammer out policies that will restrict the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“Egypt, as chair of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), will be defending African interests in relation to all climate change issues and causes,” said presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef.

 Al-Sisi addressed the conference on its first day, pointing out that Africa is the continent most affected by global warming although its contribution to total global emissions is negligible.

“It is unacceptable to focus only on reducing harmful emissions without directing similar attention to other factors, including strengthening the ability of developing countries to adapt to climate change by providing them with funds, technical support and modern technology.”

Al-Sisi argued that any agreement must include the provision of a $100 billion fund to help developing countries affected by climate change.

Before the summit opened, Al-Sisi met with French President François Hollande. During the bilateral talks, Al-Sisi offered condolences to Hollande for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.

“Terrorism recognises neither borders nor religions. Such heinous acts contradict the teachings of Islam which preaches mercy, tolerance and acceptance of the other,” he said.

The two leaders discussed regional developments, with an emphasis on Syria and Libya. Al-Sisi stressed the importance of combating terrorist groups in both countries and supporting Libya’s legitimate army and security institutions as they seek to eradicate terrorist organisations.

He highlighted the need for a comprehensive approach to dealing with all terrorist groups and the importance of countering the ideology propagated by extremists to recruit foreign fighters.

Hollande acknowledged Egypt’s support of French counter-terrorism efforts and its role as a cornerstone of security and stability in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. He also lauded improvements in bilateral relations on all levels. “I am looking forward to visiting Egypt to discuss issues of mutual interest and advance cooperation in all areas,” he said.

During his meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Al-Sisi prioritized economic cooperation. “The government is keen to attract foreign investment for national mega-projects such as the Suez Canal Area Development Project, and Egypt welcomes the contribution of French investors,” said Al-Sisi.

Valls highlighted the longstanding strategic relationship between Egypt and France and said he looked forward to future cooperation. He also pointed out the importance of Egypt’s role in contributing to the success of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Al-Sisi on Egypt’s election to the 2016-2017 Security Council and said he was confident Egypt will actively address all issues arising from the council’s mandate. He also condemned recent terrorist attacks in Egypt that, he said, highlighted the need to consolidate international efforts to combat terrorism at all levels.

Al-Sisi replied that refuting the ideology of terrorist groups and clarifying the misconceptions they use to recruit members on the Internet must be prioritised. He stressed the importance of granting the Palestinian people their legitimate right to establish an independent state, arguing that this is essential to realising security and stability in the region.

In his meeting with José Ángel Gurría, the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Al-Sisi said, “Egypt is keen to benefit from the organisation’s expertise as its government launches a raft of economic and social programmes.”

In his meeting with Iraqi President Fouad Maasum, he paid tribute to the “strong and distinctive” ties linking Egyptians and Iraqis.

During bilateral talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, Al-Sisi reiterated the importance Cairo places on the Palestinian issue and its support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Egypt, he said, will continue its efforts to establish a Palestinian state within the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

On 1 December, Al-Sisi met with French Interior Minister Bernard Kaznov. Their discussions focused on ways to combat terrorism both internationally and regionally.

Kazanov also promised that the pedestrian who slapped Ahmed Moussa — a member of the media delegation accompanying Al-Sisi — across the face while he was broadcasting for the satellite channel Sada Al-Balad from France, would be investigated.

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