Wednesday,22 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)
Wednesday,22 August, 2018
Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s Francophone role

This week’s Francophone summit in Dakar has provided Egypt with a further boost to its regional role

Al-Ahram Weekly

“I would like to thank our Francophonie friends and partners who supported Egypt during a critical time of its history, as Egypt has received support from those who are aware of its central role in regional and international stability,” Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said in his opening speech at the 15th Francophone Summit this week in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

The two-day summit was inaugurated by Senegalese President Macky Sall, with 22 presidents, heads of state and top officials attending. On the sidelines of the summit, Mehleb held separate meetings with Sall, the president of France and Cote D’Ivoire, and the foreign minister of Armenia, during which they discussed issues of mutual importance, including ways to further boost bilateral relations and recent developments in the Middle East.

Egypt’s participation in the summit came within the framework of boosting the country’s regional and international role and implementing its foreign policy by participating in international forums. Its foreign policy after the 30 June Revolution has aimed at establishing a balanced relationship with all world states based on mutual interests and mutual respect with a special focus on relations with neighbouring Arab and African states.

The summit was a chance for Egypt to update the African states about internal developments in the country. During his speech, Mehleb said that Egypt was passing through an important juncture in its modern history during which it was building a civil, modern and democratic state after the two revolutions of 25 January and 30 June.

He explained that a new constitution had been adopted in January 2014 and that the president had been elected in June in an unprecedented voter turnout. He added that the march was on towards parliamentary elections in the first quarter of next year, marking the implementation of the third and last phase of the transitional road map of 3 July 2013.

Mehleb emphasised that relations between Egypt and the Francophone states had seen progress at all levels over the past few years. He mentioned the success of Senghor University in Alexandria as an example of close cooperation. The University is a symbol of the modern Francophonie, training young Africans in development sectors in order to establish close ties between French-speaking young people and enhance their commitment to Francophonie values.

Mehleb said that Egypt after the 25 January and 30 June Revolutions fully adhered to the theme of the Francophonie summit, which was “Women and Youth in French-Speaking Countries: Vectors of Peace, Agents of Development.” He said that Egypt’s young people were its wealth and that the government was giving special attention to their problems, including by improving education, healthcare, housing and employment.

“Our major projects are based on young people through expanding the labour market and creating new jobs in different domains for a better future. The great project of the Suez Canal axis attests to our determination and unwavering commitment to construct a new Egypt with a better future for our young people,” he said.

The prime minister said that Egypt had been prompt in ratifying UN agreements related to the rights of women and children. Egyptian experts were taking part in international organisations concerned with implementing these agreements, which were part of Egyptian national legislation and were recognised by the new constitution, he added.

The summit was also a chance for Egypt to praise major development projects in Africa in the domains of infrastructure, information technology, telecommunications and transportation, he said, and renew its determination to maintaining the time-honoured role of major Egyptian companies in implementing such projects.

The issue of the Ebola virus was given special attention during the summit. Mehleb expressed Egypt’s deep concern over the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and announced its full solidarity with the peoples concerned and support to the governments of the countries hit by the virus.

Egypt has provided medical and logistical assistance to affected countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Terrorism that poses a threat to Egypt as well as other African states was an issue of concern at the summit. Mehleb expressed his concern at mounting terrorist acts perpetrated by criminals in the Francophonie region, especially in the Middle East and the Sahel and Sahara regions. He reiterated Egypt’s determination to uproot terrorism while observing the principles of human rights.

He called for more cooperation among African countries to find a suitable strategy and adopt cooperative and coordination measures for fighting terrorism that harmed international peace and security. He also pointed to the necessity to work towards implementing pledges made by other countries on this score, including United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for stopping the financing of terrorism or providing safe havens for terrorists.

Egypt gained African support at the summit for its endeavours to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2016-2017, making it the voice of the Francophonie peoples and their aspirations at the Council. He urged all member states of the organisation to support Egypt’s nomination for the seat.

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