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Egyptian FM: Lapid's Speech on Two-State Solution is Positive, Awaiting Actions

Egyptian FM: Lapid's Speech on Two-State Solution is Positive, Awaiting Actions

Tuesday, 27 September, 2022 - 07:15
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry commented on Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid's speech at the UN General Assembly calling for a two-state solution, saying it was positive but not enough.

Shoukry said in a press statement Monday in New York before returning to Egypt that the Palestinian issue has always been at the forefront of the discussions in all bilateral meetings.

Egypt has made efforts to support it, and it has a "key role" in consulting with all parties to enhance opportunities for cooperation and "defuse tension," said the FM.

The diplomat said Egypt's position does not change until the establishment of the state, announcing that Cairo coordinates with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli side, and international parties to contain any crises or escalation between the two sides to avoid undermining peace opportunities.

"I recognize that Prime Minister Lapid has publicly indicated his support of a two-state solution. This is something that we have constantly advocated in our discussions both with the Israeli government and our partners in the European Union and the United States, and we hope that the solution will be fulfilled," said the top official.

"We recognize, of course, that in Israel there are upcoming elections and the necessity to await the electoral process and the composition of a new Israeli government," he said, hoping the government will endorse the two-state solution and effectively reinitiate negotiations with the Authority, and implement them.

"It's not enough to declare one's intentions," added Shoukry.

He recalled that more than three decades after Oslo, the vision of establishing an independent Palestinian state, living side by side in security and peace with Israel, has not been achieved.

Asked about the discussions between Arab foreign ministers about the Arab initiative presented by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and the possibility of activating it, Shoukry said the initiative was adopted by all Arab countries in 2002 and still exists.

He indicated that it could be beneficial, depending on the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel when resumed.

- Diplomatic stalemate over GERD

The Foreign Minister expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in diplomatic efforts regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and linked progress in the negotiations with "Ethiopia's political will."

He pointed out that he discussed with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and other bilateral meetings with several ministers and officials the dangers of the current situation, adding that: "Egypt seeks a 'cooperative relationship' based on specific legal commitments to protect the rights of the downstream countries."

The diplomat said the negotiations lasted for a decade but did not reach an agreement.

Shoukry denied any differences with the US administration on the human rights issue in Egypt and stressed that the "US-Egyptian relationship is multifaceted," noting that it has been beneficial to both countries and that both sides have recognized the value of the strategic partnership.

Egypt has taken several steps within the framework of the principles of the Human Rights Council, the national strategy for human rights, and the national dialogue to advance the rights of the citizens, which is apparent in all the policies pursued by the government.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that US Congress decided to withhold $130 million in military aid.

Regarding the decision, Shoukry said Cairo receives this aid to serve the interests of both countries, expressing Egypt's appreciation for all the assistance that has been provided over the years, which has enhanced its defense capabilities within the scope of military aid.

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