Egypt as it is today has a strong state which contributes to regional stability, but it is distrustful of both Turkey and the current situation in Libya, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday.
Macron’s remarks came as part of his opening speech at the Middle East Mediterranean (MEM) Summer Summit 2020.
“The Mediterranean Sea, which has for so long fed and enriched our common history, shaped our identity, carried our myths and irrigated our cultures, has violently roared again this summer,” he added.
Macron noted that the Mediterranean today is seen in only as the source of illegal immigration from the southern shore, or, from the point of view war zones present in the Middle East.
“Consequently, we need to rethink another form of European demography, one in which we succeed in rebuilding Europe with projects for the free movement of talents,” he asserted.
The French President also argued that a development programme should be launched involving the universities, culture, technology, industry, economy and politics on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.
Macron explained that the Mediterranean is gradually returning to its previous role as a transit route. He added that, unsurprisingly, these routes precisely reflect the routes and extraction of oil and gas that have created the tensions currently on show in the Eastern Mediterranean.
He pointed out that some of the “legal squabbles” currently being witnessed in the region are to achieve reciprocal recognition of the delimitation of sovereignties or of special economic zones.
“It is a collective and regional challenge to build a ‘pax mediterranea’ around this issue of energy and enhance economic opportunities with coexistence in such limited space, but it is our duty to make sure that this energy issue does not become the subject of dispute,” the president added.
“I believe that the Mediterranean cannot turn into a battleground where super powers clash with each other,” he clarified, “Instead, we need to build a mechanism of political cooperation.”
This cooperation will guarantee much of the EU’s stability regarding the Western Balkans, Russia and Turkey, Macron said, adding that it will also guarantee a lasting and balanced cooperation between Africa and the EU.
He claimed that the stability, safety and security of the Mediterranean Sea which was put in place by NATO has gradually eroded over time, or has largely been withdrawn due to the US presence in the region.
“We notice that it [regional stability] continues to be affected by the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process, including the impossibility to find a solution, and the violation of international law,” he said.
This year has witnessed a reconfiguring of the forces at work by a US mediation that has profoundly changed the situation, Macron added.
The French President noted that the conflicts in Syria and Libya are distinguished by the continued mistakes of Western powers that have failed to build peace in the region, and failed to replace solutions to an imperial sovereignty they contested.
He added, “The situation in both Libya and Syria is endless warfare, with the two regional powerhouses of Russia and Turkey re-emerging, each with their own agenda.”