On Tuesday, 19 September, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi addressed the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, where he discussed Egypt’s leading role in regional and international diplomacy, ongoing efforts to resolve regional crises as well as the Arab-Israeli conflict, and strategy for confronting terrorism and defeating extremism.
During his address, President El Sisi’s stressed that “the only solution to the of the crises afflicting the Arab region is through upholding the notion of the modern nation-state, which is based on the principles of citizenship, equality, rule of law and human rights, thereby defeating any attempts at retracting to doctrinal, sectarian, ethnic or tribal loyalties.” President El Sisi added “the path towards reform passes inevitably through the realization of the nation-state, and cannot be built on its demise. This principle lies at the core of Egypt’s foreign policy, and it is the foundation on which we base our positions in addressing crises affecting our region.”
Please find below key points and excerpts from President El Sisi’s speech. A full transcript of his prepared remarks can be found here.
EGYPT’S ROLE AT THE UNITED NATIONS: “Egypt’s longstanding involvement with the UN, both as a founding member of the United Nations that has been elected to the Security Council for six times, and the seventh largest contributor to peace keeping operations world-wide, bears witness to our constant strive to build a world that is worthy of the aspirations of our children and grandchildren to live in freedom, dignity, security and prosperity.”
DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC REFORM STRATEGY: “Egypt is encircled by the most dangerous crises in the world. It is our destiny to navigate confidently through these unprecedented dangers, relying on an ambitious development strategy based on radical and bold economic reforms. Such reforms aim at empowering the youth, who represent the majority of the population, not only in Egypt but also in most of the societies of the Arab countries and the developing world.”
AN ACTIVE FOREIGN POLICY STRATEGY: “In a world that is interconnected, complex and full of challenges that cannot be confronted by any country alone, regardless of its capabilities, it is imperative for Egypt’s ambitious development plans to correlate with an active foreign policy strategy. Such a strategy is guided by the long established moral principles ingrained in our heritage and culture, and abides by the legal principles of the international system, which Egypt has actively participated in formulating.”
AFRICA: “As Egypt’s geographical home, Africa lies at the heart of Egypt’s foreign policy, for it is in Africa that our historic roots lie, and it is from Africa that we derive pride in our identity and our deep sense of belonging. This continent has also become subject to the same security threats facing the Arab region, and constitutes a major example of the crisis in the current international economic order, which cements poverty and economic disparity. This global order bears a major responsibility in the economic, political and social crises that threaten international peace and stability, rendering any discussion on sustainable development goals futile.”
SYRIA: “With regards to Syria, we believe that there would be no salvation for Syria except through a consensual political solution amongst all Syrians at the core of which is the preservation of the unity of the Syrian state, the maintenance of its institutions and the broadening of their political and social base to include all factions of the Syrian society, and to decisively counter terrorism until it is defeated.”
LIBYA: “Similarly, we believe that a political settlement is the only viable solution to the ongoing crisis in Libya… Here, I would like to emphasize very clearly, that Egypt will not allow the continuation of attempts to tamper with the unity and integrity of the Libyan state, or to undermine the capabilities of the Libyan people. We will continue to work diligently with the United Nations to achieve a political settlement based on the ‘Sokhairat Agreement.’”
THE PEACE PROCESS: “It is time for a comprehensive and final settlement to the longest outstanding crisis in the Arab region, namely the Palestinian cause, which is a clear depiction of the international community’s inability to implement a long series of United Nations and Security Council resolutions.”
CONFRONTING TERRORISM: “It is impossible to envisage a future for the regional or international order without a definitive and comprehensive confrontation with terrorism. This should be approached in a manner that eradicates terrorism and eliminates its roots and causes, in addition to openly challenging any party that supports or finances terrorism, or that grants it political, media fora, or safe havens.”
RENEWING THE RELIGIOUS DISCOURSE IN THE MUSLIM WORLD: “We in the Muslim world need to face our reality and work together to rectify misconstrued notions which have become an ideological pretext for terrorism and their destructive discourse. As you may recall, Egypt has launched an initiative to rectify religious discourse in order to revive the moderate and tolerant values of Islam. Egypt’s religious institutions are currently engaged in this process in coordination with relevant international entities worldwide.”
ELIMINATING THE ROOT CAUSES OF TERROR: “The elimination of the root causes of international crises and sources of threat to international stability, necessitates the operationalization of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between members of the international community, in order to narrow the economic and social gaps between developed and developing countries.”
MYANMAR: “The humanitarian tragedy facing the Rohingya minority in Myanmar represents another reason to remind the international community of its moral obligations, let alone its legal responsibilities, as reflected in the UN Charter, to promptly work towards a lasting solution that ends the plight of civilians and addresses the root causes of the crisis, which has become a threat to regional security and the stability of neighboring countries.”