Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel held a press conference on Saturday following a meeting together, where Shoukry addressed rumours of tension between Egypt and Saudi Arabia following the UN security council vote on peace resolutions for Syria.
In the first official comment following Egypt’s vote for the Russian resolution, Shoukry denied that there is any tension between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He said that the cooperation is ongoing between the two countries.
Earlier this month, Egypt voted in favour of two different resolutions for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria. The first was filed by France and was backed by Spain and the other was filed by Russia—both were vetoed and failed to be adopted by the security council.
There is a common concern from both Egypt and Spain regarding the ongoing turmoil in Syria, Manuel said, putting an emphasis on the access of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. Manuel added that Egypt and Spain are working on a common resolution to be filed to the UN security council, in place of those that failed to be adopted.
Shoukry added that Egypt, Spain, and New Zealand are deeply involved in humanitarian-related issues of the security council and, according to this responsibility, they will file a common resolution based on humanitarian access to Syria and the challenges facing the Syrian people.
Shoukry added that this resolution will also include key points regarding peace in Syria, including ceasefires and the necessity of a common solution between the political factions.
During the conference , Shoukry did not discuss the major difference between the French and Russian resolutions filed to the UN security council: halting airstrikes.
The French resolution included the halt of military flights and airstrikes in Syria, whereas Russia’s resolution did not include this clause. However, Manuel mentioned the importance of halting military flights in Syria.
The two ministers started the conference by saying that Egypt and Spain have a common responsibility in that they are both members of the UN security council.
They also said that the two countries share a common vision regarding several regional issues, including terrorism and illegal migration. The ministers have shared assessments on the ongoing turmoil in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Mosul in Iraq.
Manuel said that Egyptian-Spanish bilateral relations have thrived. There is common cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the fields of preventing illegal migration and counter-terrorism. According to Manuel, Spain’s minister of agriculture will soon visit Egypt to establish common projects.
Concerning the refugee crisis, Manuel said that the number of refugees have outnumbered the number in the second world war. He said that Spain and other European Union countries have received their share of refugees, and there is no agreement between Spain and Egypt to support refugees. Shoukry said that refugees are not a “burden” but rather a responsibility.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi also met with Manuel on Saturday and discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations, cooperation between the two countries, and several regional issues.