Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy met Sunday with three representatives from the United Nations to discuss a number of important regional issues in the Middle East and Africa. According to a spokesperson at the ministry, the meetings dealt primarily with the latest developments in Syria and Palestine.
A majority of Fahmy’s meetings were devoted to discussing developments in Palestine with Jeffrey Feltman, Under Secretary of Political Affairs for the United Nations, Filippo Grande, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
In his meeting with Feltman, Fahmy reiterated that Egypt seeks to “adhere to the principles endorsed by the international community to the foundations of a peaceful settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides”. Fahmy also said that the state should occupy the June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, which has long been the MFA’s position on peace talks.
Fahmy added that UN resolutions will also be taken into account in the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state. Fahmy echoed these same concerns in his meetings with Grande and Serry.
In a meeting with Grande, Fahmy praised the efforts of the UNRWA in alleviating the suffering of Palestinian refugees. Grande and Fahmy also discussed lifting the “Israeli siege imposed on Gaza” and the need for Israel to carry out its obligations as an occupying force.
Fahmy also touched on the Israeli blockade with Special Coordinator Serry. Fahmy stated that it was crucial that Israel allow construction materials and basic goods into the Gaza strip, which has been under the blockade since 2007.
Commissioner Grande of the UNRWA praised Egypt’s support for the peace talks in which Fahmy has an active role. Grande also praised Egypt’s support of the UNRWA, which helps “alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian refugees”. Commissioner Grande also noted Egypt’s reception of Palestinian refugees fleeing the war in Syria.
Fahmy briefly discussed the status of ongoing Geneva II peace talks with Under-Secretary of Political Affairs Feltman. Fahmy and Feltman discussed Egypt’s stance on Geneva II peace talks, the status of which the ministry spokesperson described as ‘faltering’. Fahmy stressed the importance of finding a political solution to implement a transitional authority which would “achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, stop the daily killings, and preserve the unity of Syria.”
A MFA spokesman said that Fahmy also discussed with Feltman the ongoing upheaval in the Central African Republic, promising “to provide all possible assistance to support UN action to stop the deterioration of the situation” which has forced approximately 20% of the population to flee their homes. Sectarian killings and looting are also on the rise as international forces struggle to bring the conflict under control.
Feltman, in return, promised that the UN offices in Egypt will provide “all forms of economic and social support and possible cooperation with Egypt” in the implementation of the interim authorities’ post-Morsi roadmap. Feltman said he hoped cooperation would lead to “more efficient state institutions”.