While on his two days’ visit to Cairo on April 14-15, Poland’s FM Jacek Czaputowicz encouraged his counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry to engage in the working groups that were established as a result of the February 14 Warsaw Middle East Conference.
“Being aware of the key role that Egypt plays in the MENA region, we would like to encourage our partners in Cairo to engage in the working groups established as a result of the February 14 Warsaw Middle East Conference,” said FM Czaputowicz, adding that Poland recognises and appreciates Egypt’s stabilising role in the region in the Israeli-Palestinian context and the mediations in Syria and Lebanon alike.
Poland’s FM also lauded Egypt’s active stance in the global anti-terrorist coalition, its participation in the Arab states’ coalition intervening in Yemen and its presidency over the African Union.
“Egypt remains among Poland’s key partners in Africa and the Arab world with whom we recognise possibilities of bilateral cooperation and development in the energy, mining and industry sectors, and also particularly in the agriculture, machinery and food industry,” said Mr Czaputowicz, adding that Poland could help Egypt with the modernisation of its military equipment.
When interviewed by Egypt’s oldest governmental newspaper Al-Ahram, FM Czaputowicz recalled that both Poland and Egypt combat the Islamic State, the so-called Daesh, “participate in the frameworks of forums such as EuroMed Migration and the Khartoum Process, preventing and fighting human trafficking. Poland has also trained Sudanese and Ethiopian authorities and is currently training the Kenyan ones. In addition, the Polish embassy in Cairo carried out a project for the children of Eritrean refugees in Egypt.”
For his part, Egypt’s FM Sameh Hassan Shoukry praised Polish-Egyptian cooperation in the field of combating terrorism and recalled Poland’s industrial presence in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Nevertheless, the Egyptian FM stressed that investment opportunities for Poland abound in Egypt and that the country is looking forward to continuing bilateral consultation and coordination in this area.
In this regard, Mr Czaputowicz told Al-Ahram that “the volume of business between our two countries increased last year to about USD 500 mln. I hope that this growth will continue through the intensification of bilateral relations. The signing of an economic cooperation, investment support and entrepreneurship agreement between Poland and Egypt is scheduled for mid-2019. We also intend to organize a business forum from both countries.”
Speaking as a representative of the EU, Mr Czaputowicz praised the cooperation dynamics between the EU and the Arab League (AL) during his meeting with the AL’s secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The two politicians also tackled the results of the Warsaw ME Conference and the ensuing steps to be undertaken by the working groups.
Poland’s FM also met local Christians in Cairo and the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church Tavadros II, whom he told that “Poland is interested in strengthening religious and cultural tolerance in the North African region and all around the world.” He also stressed deeply rooted solidarity of Poland with the Christians in the Middle East that finds proof in numerous aid programmes carried out by the Catholic Church in the region.
On Monday, FM Czaputowicz will also meet Egypt’s antiquity minister Khaled El-Anany and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque Shaykh Ahmed At-Tayyeb.