arab eu summit in egypt a new chapter in cooperation tusk

Arab-EU summit in Egypt a ‘new chapter in cooperation’: Tusk

Middle East

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: The first EU-Arab League Summit came to an end on Monday, focusing on the theme “Investing in Stability.” The core issues under discussion, however, represented anything but stability. 
EU leaders and the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May debated at length over Brexit, while Arab nations were confronted with fighting terrorism, extremism and rebuilding several shattered nations. Many of these issues were addressed at the summit’s conclusion, via an all-encompassing declaration, reaffirming pledges to enhance international cooperation.
On the second day of the summit, Iraqi President Barham Salih stressed that while Iraq was in the “vanguard” of the fight against terrorism, reconstruction was essential to consolidate progress. “This is what helps us to return the displaced; a common interest between Iraq, the region, and European countries,” he added. “Addressing the phenomenon of migration and its consequences depends on addressing the causes in the region, and providing an environment supportive of reform and sustainable development.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri agreed. “We are partners in promoting a culture of pluralism, dialogue among civilizations, a culture of coexistence and complementarity between religions. We are partners in protecting our countries from the dangers of terrorism and extremism, and in solving the problems of migration,” he said. 
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa also addressed the issue of Arab cooperation, citing the importance of interconnectedness between his nation and its neighbors. 
“Experiences and historical lessons have always proved that security, stability and development are indivisible all over the world,” he said. “We must work to raise levels of cooperation and coordination, and the mutual respect and balance in international relations and strategic interests.” 
European Council President Donald Tusk, who co-chaired the summit with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, stated: “This is the beginning of a new chapter of cooperation between us. It is only the beginning, but a good beginning.” 
He added, though, that it was time Europe and the Arab world “got real” on global terrorism. “We are confronted by the same challenges, such as security, terrorism, climate change and mass population misplacement. We want to develop projects in energy, technology, tourism and trade, and encourage sustained growth that our peoples need.” 
At the closing press conference, El-Sisi called the summit “historical” for the number of world leaders in attendance, as well as the breadth of topics under discussion. 
He warned, however, that serious differences in culture existed between Arab countries and the EU, stating the latter’s governments were obsessed with “luxuries,” while administrations such as his existed to “save their nations from despair and devastation.” 
Future summits between the EU and the Arab League will take place every three years, it was also revealed on Monday. The next one will be held in Brussels, the home of the European Commission, in 2022.