At the start of his current visit to Dublin, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held extended consultations on February 17th, with the Tánaiste (Irish Deputy Prime) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney, whereby the two discussed ways of boosting bilateral relations in various fields as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Counselor Ahmed Hafez stated that, at the start of the meeting, Minister Shoukry praised the special and friendly nature of relations between Egypt and Ireland, pointing out that his visit comes in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and marking 100 years of Egyptian and Irish Leaders fighting together to assert their nations’ rights to self-determination. In this context, Shoukry expressed Egypt's aspiration to promote cooperation between the two countries to new levels and wider horizons, covering all areas of mutual interest.
Moreover, the two agreed on the importance of continuing coordination and consultation between their countries, and on the need to maintain the periodicity of holding political consultations, as the last round of consultations was held in Cairo in 2016.
During the meeting, the two sides also reviewed the main features of economic and trade relations between Egypt and Ireland, which have witnessed a remarkable increase over the past four years, while stressing the importance of continuing to develop them so as to reflect the distinguished level of political relations. In this regard, Shoukry noted the promising opportunities for cooperation in various fields, such as pharmaceutics, ICT, renewable energy, dairy, and meat, taking into account the ongoing intensive consultations with Irish companies interested in accessing the vast Egyptian market, in light of Egypt being a gateway to a gigantic Arab and African market. The meeting also touched on cooperation in the field of aviation, as Shoukry indicated the importance of launching a direct flight route between Cairo and Dublin, especially in light of the fact that Egypt has regained its status as a top tourism destination for Europeans in 2018, in addition to the contribution of the distinguished Egyptian community in Ireland and its Irish counterpart as a bridge between the two nations.
Moreover, the consultations dealt with regional issues of concern to both sides, most notably the developments in the Middle East peace process, as Shoukry reviewed the Egyptian vision in this regard, and affirmed the need for a permanent and just settlement to the Palestinian cause that guarantees the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State, per 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
On his part, Coveney welcomed Shoukry's visit to Ireland and expressed his hope that the visit acts as a driving force for enhanced relations between the two countries. In this context, he stressed that his country attaches a high priority to bolstering and expanding cooperation and consultation with Egypt at all levels, including on trade, regional and consular issues, in order to achieve the common interests of their two friendly peoples.
At the end of his remarks, Hafez explained that a joint press statement was issued by the two sides on the outcome of the talks. The statement referred to the keenness of the Egyptian and Irish sides to consolidate their bilateral cooperation frameworks, as well as their joint vision on the importance of cooperation between Africa and the EU, particularly in light of Egypt’s assumption of the chairmanship of the African Union and its priorities in this regard, which include achieving social and economic development in the African continent, developing industrial and agricultural systems to enhance food security, and advancing cooperation between the African Union and international, regional, and local partners. The statement also noted that promoting cooperation between European and Arab countries serves the joint interests of both countries, especially in light of the upcoming Irish participation at the first Arab League-EU Summit scheduled to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh on February 24-25th.