Egyptian FM: Abraham Accords good for peace

Speaking about Egypt’s role, Shoukry said that his country has tried to fill that gap through collaborations with the US and the EU.

EGYPT’S FOREIGN MINISTER Sameh Shoukry attends a press conference in Paris on March 11. (photo credit: LUDOVIC MARIN/REUTERS)
EGYPT’S FOREIGN MINISTER Sameh Shoukry attends a press conference in Paris on March 11.
(photo credit: LUDOVIC MARIN/REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with representatives of several Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents, B’nai B’rith International, AJC, AIPAC, JINSA, ADL and JStreet.

The Tuesday meeting, held during Shoukry’s current visit to Washington, “touched upon strong strategic ties with the US, as well as Egypt’s visions on the most important issues of the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement.

“They also reviewed Egypt’s unceasing efforts on reviving the peace process to achieve just and comprehensive peace, and support the pillars of security and stability in the region,” he said.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, said that it was an honor to meet Shoukry to discuss issues of mutual concern.

“While the ground rules of the meeting prevent me from commenting on the specifics of the off-the-record discussion, I will characterize the meeting as very friendly and very comprehensive in the discussion of US-Egypt relations, as well as on key regional matters of mutual concern,” he said.

EGYPTIAN FOREIGN Minister Sameh Shoukry (right) meets with then Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi at Tahrir Palace in Cairo. (credit: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS)EGYPTIAN FOREIGN Minister Sameh Shoukry (right) meets with then Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi at Tahrir Palace in Cairo. (credit: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS)

“Foreign Minister Shoukry has long-standing ties and relationships with the American Jewish community, including from his most recent post as Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States,” Daroff said. “We look forward to continued dialogue with him and his government over the months and years ahead.”

The meeting took place as the US and Egypt concluded their strategic dialogue on Tuesday morning. According to a joint statement, the countries “reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to the national security of both countries and to the stability of the Middle East.

“Egypt commended the US role in economic development in Egypt and its supply of defense equipment, and joint cooperation to reinforce Egypt’s defense capabilities,” while the US “expressed its appreciation for Egypt’s leadership in mediating solutions to regional conflicts, notably in promoting peace and ending violence in Gaza,” the statement reads.

It also noted that the two sides “held a constructive dialogue on human rights and fundamental freedoms, including civil and political rights, freedom of expression, fighting racism, women’s empowerment, and economic, social and cultural rights.”

EARLIER ON Tuesday, Shoukry said that Egypt has welcomed the Abraham Accords as a positive development, “one that should be encouraging of Israel to proceed to engage in peace negotiations.”

The foreign minister spoke with former US ambassador James Jeffrey at the Wilson Center.

“The potential of regional integration – the disappearance of the perceived threat – is, I’m sure, reinforcing to the approach toward resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, definitively and finally,” he said.

“Egypt led the way, more than 40 years ago, and creating peace opened the door for Jordan; and subsequently – unfortunately much later – came the Abraham [Accords], which is again in the same line,” Shoukry continued.

“We believe that dispelling the ideas of a potential threat is the way forward to achieve comprehensive peace across the region, and we hope that it will have that impact, but we recognize and have recognized over the last two years that there is a lack of engagement on both the Israeli and the Palestinian side.”

Speaking about Egypt’s role, Shoukry said that his country has tried to fill that gap through collaborations with the US and the EU. “We have also tried to fill some of that vacuum and reassure the Palestinians that there is a commitment on the part of the international community to uphold the parameters of a peace agreement.”

Shoukry noted that Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France established the Munich group, “and met to reiterate what we deemed as the international community’s commitment to the peace process, and we continue to have discussions with our Israeli friends related to the importance of moving ahead on the peace negotiations to finally end the conflict… on the basis of a two-state solution.

“We certainly do not do this as a matter of pressure, but we do so as a matter of conviction,” he emphasized. “We know very well that peace will not be achieved unless those involved have that conviction, which it is in their best interest to reach an agreement and to settle this conflict definitively.

“We will do everything possible to enhance them to pursue this objective,” he said, “but the final analysis is that it is up to the partners.

“We’ve had an in-depth discussion with the Israeli prime minister, with the Israeli foreign minister, and we’ll continue to have these discussions, and we will hopefully find ways to reinforce the importance of a final resolution of the conflict as a matter of opening the doors for regional cooperation for both the economic and also the security dimension.”