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El-Sisi Warns of Dangers from ‘Procrastination’ over Gaza Ceasefire at EU-Egypt Summit

Members of the European Union-Egypt Summit. Credit: EU X page

March 18, 2024 (EIRNS)—Speaking at a press conference following the weekend’s European Union-Egypt Summit, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi urged the European leaders to exert substantial efforts to secure an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and to increase humanitarian assistance and relief, to alleviate the devastating humanitarian catastrophe endured by the Palestinian people. President El-Sisi reaffirmed Cairo’s unshakeable and immutable rejection of any attempt by Israel to forcibly displace the Palestinian people from their lands.

“The procrastination in resolving this issue exposes the region and the whole world to a state of instability,” El-Sisi stressed. The March 17th summit included El-Sisi, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. They discussed the Gaza crisis, especially the humanitarian component as well as relations between Egypt and the EU.

For her part, von der Leyen said, “The presence of six European leaders today shows how deeply we value our relationship,” reflects the strength of their bilateral ties, and marks a historic milestone through the signing of a joint declaration for a strategic and comprehensive partnership. She also thanked Egypt for its role in mitigating the Gaza crisis.

In addition to the Gaza crisis, the summit focused on emigration, energy and economic cooperation. The EU agreed on a €7.4 billion financial package to bolster the Egyptian economy, noting that the package includes concessional financing, investment guarantees, and technical support for bilateral cooperation projects. El-Sisi announced that an investment conference between Egypt and the EU would take place in the second half of 2024. All of this is bundled up with preventing illegal migration, where, according to El-Sisi, the leaders “expressed unanimous agreement on the cardinal importance of strengthening Egypt’s efforts in combating irregular migration.” The presence of Greece and Cyprus was related to their role in facilitating the aid shipments to Gaza, as well as the fact that both countries share a trilateral agreement on energy matters with Egypt, which is an exporter of gas.

Italian Prime Minister Meloni made a big play about the event being part of implementing her so- called “Mattei Plan” for Africa. This came down to signing various memorandums of understanding on agricultural projects, as well as training Egyptians as part of mitigating illegal migration. A similar MOU was signed on technical education. The bottom line, though, involved an Italian outlay of only €45 million in a subsidized loan for small and medium-sized industry.