The Egyptian presidency asserted in a statement on Wednesday that Egypt does not recognise Western Sahara, but that the country is a member state of the African Union.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s statement comes following tensions that marked the opening of the fourth Arab-African summit held in Equatorial Guinea’s capital of Malabo over the republic’s participation.
The summit witnessed the withdrawal of several countries following Morroco’s objection, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, and Bahrain.
“Egypt was keen on participating in the summit to strengthen relations between the Arab world and the African continent, amid circumstances that require united efforts,” the presidential spokesperson stated.
Al-Sisi adressed important challenges such as the refugee crisis, illegal immigration, the expansion of cross-border organised crime in drug and human trafficking, and terrorist groups in a speech he gave during the opening session of the summit.
“Experience has proved an inherent relationship between the deterioration of safety and security internationally, and poverty, illiteracy rates, and slow economic growth. We should have a comprehensive approach when dealing with such challenges,” Al-Sisi said.
As such, the president said that security and stability for the Arab-African region is on top of Egypt’s foreign policy, and that Egypt serves that purpose by representing the Arab-African group in the UN security council and membership in the African Union’s Security Council.