New initiative to face foreign interests in Red Sea countries
CAIRO –12 December 2017: Egypt launched an initiative to establish a framework of cooperation between the Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea, to face foreign interests besetting Red Sea countries on Monday December 11.
This occurred during a conference titled “Peace, Security and Prosperity in the Red Sea: Towards an Arab-African Regional Cooperation Framework” hosted by Egypt on December 11 and 12. Top officials from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti, attended the conference.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed that attempts to organize the Red Sea affairs and face challenges have not reached the same level of coordination as Red Sea countries had wished for.
He pointed out that recently countries have exerted efforts to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa, warning “we should consider the foreign interests surrounding the region as well as the political and security turmoil in the region, including the Yemeni crisis, affecting the economic conditions of the Red Sea countries.”
He noted that Egypt is among the top countries combating terrorism with its participation in the Arab alliance. In this regard, the Egyptian Navy contributes to ensuring maritime security and preventing arms trafficking in line with international resolutions.
He said that although there are conflicts between countries bordering the Red Sea, these conflicts will not hinder the efforts to increase the common benefit of the Red Sea.
“The initiative of cooperation should consider the different levels of economic growth among Red Sea countries; consequently, it is important to diversify the fields of projects and cooperative mechanisms,” explained Shoukry.
He concluded that Egypt has launched this initiative for the Red Sea countries to face challenges, noting that Egypt is ready to host a second conference for the Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea.
According to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Ahmed Abu-Zeid, the conference would also discuss issues including coordinating efforts to face security threats, terrorism, illegal immigration, human trafficking and smuggling operations.
The conference aims to strengthen the sovereignty of the Red Sea nations over their own internal affairs and regional water. In addition, the conference aims to exchange expertise related to legal frameworks to improve investments.
The Red Sea nations include nine countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Israel.