EU envoy lauds Egypt role in brokering ceasefire in Gaza

EU ambassador to Egypt Christian Berger has praised Cairo’s efforts meant to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt also plays an important role to achieve reconciliation between the Palestinian movements of Fatah and Hamas, Berger said in statements to MENA during his visit to Alexandria Monday.

He greatly appreciated the Jeddah agreement meant to achieve ceasefire in Sudan. Berger also pointed to close coordination between the EU and Cairo where the Sudanese crisis is concerned.

The EU is following the transit movement through the Egyptian-Sudanese borders, the diplomat said, lauding procedures adopted by Egypt to ease the crossing of European nationals escaping the fighting in Sudan. The EU mission in Khartoum also crossed the border to Egypt, Berger noted.

He said the EU offered an urgent financial aid worth 200,000 euros to the Egyptian Red Crescent to support the basic needs of people displaced from Sudan. The pan-European body also provided aid worth more than 72 million euros inside Sudan, Berger added.

Asked about his current visit to Alexandria, Berger said he is here to follow up on water projects that are being financed by the EU. Cooperation between the EU and Egypt in the water sector is a big priority, the diplomat said.

The EU implements one water project in Egypt every year, he said, putting the total value of such ventures at about 550 million euros.

He also touched upon cooperation with the Irrigation Ministry, noting that together they organize the Cairo Water Week in October of each year. Egypt has become an important water hub in the region, he believes.

About the national dialogue in Egypt, Berger said it is a good idea to have such discussions which focus on important social, economic and political topics in which the EU is cooperating with Cairo. He made it clear that he had been invited to attend one of the sessions, but noted that the dialogue is an Egyptian affair.

The EU ambassador also talked about the situation in Ukraine. He expressed hope that the conflict there would come to an end soon and that Russia would withdraw its troops from Ukraine, which he called a sovereign state. The EU is in the process of imposing new sanctions, Berger noted.

According to the European envoy, the price hikes in Egypt are blamed on many factors, including the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global rise in food prices due to the crisis in Ukraine.

Egypt, he said, is not the only country affected by the increasing prices. Some European countries are experiencing the same problem, which is also paired with an upturn in inflation rates, Berger made it clear.

The EU envoy also spoke of the Syrian problem. He said UN resolution 2254 was issued in 2015 with the aim to put an end to the Syrian crisis.

Commenting on Syria’s return to the Arab League, he said the AL is free to do so. Berger said the EU and AL are set to meet in June and will discuss the issue. The EU stance towards Syria has not changed, he noted.

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