PRESS RELEASE 272
Meetings between Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and his counterparts from Egypt, Palestine and Tunisia
12/20/2016
​The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, held three bilateral meetings on Tuesday, 20 December, with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry; Palestine, Riad Malki; and Tunisia, Jemaïs Jhinawi; on the sidelines of the 4th European Union-Arab League Ministerial Conference being held on the same day in Cairo, co-chaired by Jemaïs Jhinawi, on behalf of the Arab League and by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU.
At his meeting with the Egyptian minister, Sameh Shoukry, they remarked on the excellent period being enjoyed in terms of bilateral relations, and agreed to define new trips and visits that offer continuity to those recently made, the most noteworthy of which was the visit to Spain by President Al Sisi in April 2015.
In terms of relations between the European Union and Egypt, Minister Dastis underlined the importance of Egypt as an EU partner, and the need to make progress on cooperation for social and economic development, as well as on dialogue on the matter of governance.
At an international level, collaboration between the two countries on the UN Security Council, of which they are both non-permanent members; the leading role played by Egypt in the search for a solution to the crisis in Libya, and the efforts by various international players, including Egypt, to unblock the stalemate in the peace process between Israel and Palestine were also tackled.
The meeting with the Palestinian minister, Riad Malki, focused on bilateral relations and on the Middle East Peace Process. As regards the first issue, the minsters examined the exchange of possible trips and visits in the near future and welcomed the good level of cooperation facilitated by the consideration of Palestine as the priority target of Spanish Cooperation and due to the Country Partnership Framework signed in January 2015. On the second issue, Alfonso Dastis reaffirmed Spain’s commitment to the two-State solution – Israel and Palestine – whereby they co-exist safely within internationally-acknowledged borders, and the need to make progress down this path. The two ministers analysed the recent initiatives to re-launch the peace process and the French plan for an international conference and the proposals being studied by the Security Council.
At the meeting with the Tunisian minister, Jemaïs Jhinawi, they firstly tackled bilateral relations between Spain and Tunisia. Alfonso Dastis stressed to his counterpart the priority given by Spain to its relations with Tunisia, a neighbouring country in the Western Mediterranean to which we are bound by historical ties of friendship, and the democratic transition, at a delicate time due to the economic crisis and because of the security challenges caused by terrorism, and assured him of Spain’s support. Different initiatives were tackled to resume bilateral political contact in the near future.
Minister Dastis congratulated Minister Jhinawi on the success on the conference on investment and support for Tunisia held on 29 November, at which Spain renewed its commitment to the consolidation of democracy and the prosperity of the country, among other ways, through projects with IFAD and the availability of financing through the Spanish Development Promotion Fund (Spanish acronym: FONPRODE).
The two ministers also analysed potential measures at an economic level to renew investor confidence and to promote trade exchanges between the two countries, which are still not living up to their potential.
Relations between the European Union and Tunisia and regional issues, with particular attention on the situation in Libya and its repercussions on Tunisia and the rest of the region, were also subject to analysis.
 
-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-

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