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Egypt, Tunisia agree to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation

February 25, 2019 at 1:52 am

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi in Cairo, Egypt on 5 June 2018 [Egyptian President Office/Apaimages]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi yesterday agreed on “mutual coordination in the face of terrorism.” The two leaders’ remarks came during their meeting in Egypt’s eastern Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, hours before the start of the first-ever Arab League-European Union (EU) summit.

During the meeting, Sisi and Essebsi stressed the importance of strengthening security coordination between Egypt and Tunisia, as well as exchanging information on terror groups and returnees from the conflict zones. The two officials pointed out that the terror groups represented “a threat to the two countries [Egypt and Tunisia] and the entire region.”

The meeting also discussed the recent political, social and economic developments in the two countries. Sisi hailed what he described as “the continuous development of ties between Egypt and Tunisia,” hoping that the North African countries would “enhance trade exchange and mutual investments.”

Essebsi invited his Egyptian counterpart to the upcoming Arab League summit due on 21 March in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

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Early on Sunday, Egypt inaugurated an Arab League-EU two-day summit, bringing together 24 European leaders – including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May – as well as leaders from 21 Arab countries.

The conference, which was organised under the slogan of “Investing in Stability,” was set to discuss climate change, terrorism, migration and Middle East stability. It was also said to would be tackling hot regional topics, including the crises in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the Middle East peace process.

Sisi has been holding some multi-focused international events and conferences in Sharm El-Sheikh, a move that politicians describe as an attempt to attract tourists to the coastal city. Tourism in Sharm El-Sheikh – Egypt’s most-visited coastal city – has been hit after militants brought down a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula in 2015.

The aeroplane crash, which was claimed by Daesh, had left all 224 people on board dead. Following the incident, Moscow suspended all its flights to Egypt. The United Kingdom (UK) later followed suit, suspending its direct flight to the Sharm El-Sheikh.

Since then, Egypt has been taking severe measures to boost security conditions across the country’s airports. Flights between the beach resorts and several destinations, including Russia and the UK are still yet to resume.

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