Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis attended the first summit meeting between the European Union and the League of Arab States on Sunday and Monday that passed a declaration highlighting the determination to discuss and address common and current challenges across the two regions, to strengthen their co-operation and co-ordination to capitalise on the existing great potential to enhance the stability, prosperity, and well-being of the two regions and the world at large, according to the Romanian Presidential Administration.
The declaration reaffirms common positions on the Middle East Peace Process, while reiterating commitment to reaching a two-state solution, as well as strong support for the United Nations in conflict resolution efforts in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
The Presidential Administration mentions that the summit took place in an important historical context for Romania, namely while holding the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019, which is a “key moment and at the same time an opportunity to closely follow developments in the Middle East and North Africa in order to ensure a stable political, economic and social climate in the southern neighbourhood of the EU, as well as to support efforts to promote peace and security in the region.”
Speaking at Sunday’s inaugural session, President Klaus Iohannis highlighted the context in which this summit was held, marked by challenges and uncertainties, as well as opportunities.
He said a strong partnership is needed for finding common solutions to our immediate problems, which pose various risks, such as migration, radicalisation and terrorism, and for addressing medium and long-term challenges, such as climate change, sustainable development and job creation.
Iohannis highlighted the importance of economic development in the region as the engine of positive transformation.
He said migration remains a considerable challenge. According to the Presidential Administration, the summit highlighted the fact that the European Union responded favourably to the various requests for support from the international community through participation in external relocation programmes and by strengthening financial support from the EU and its member states to programmes and projects carried out in relation to the countries of origin and transit of migrants.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, Iohannis stressed Romania’s firm support for the fight against this phenomenon, as well as its strong opposition to all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, reiterating the need for good co-operation among the EU, the Arab League organisations and the member states in combatting these phenomena.
“The President of Romania welcomed the joint efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 in support of multilateralism both at global and regional level through the use of the framework provided by regional organisations. President Klaus Iohannis emphasised the importance of enhanced co-operation among the European Union, the League of Arab States, the United Nations and the African Union.”
Iohannis also said that regional developments of the past years have witnessed a number of crises which, regardless of the efforts of local actors and the international community, continue to affect the security of us all. Any solutions to such crises need to take into account the positions, opinions and sensitivities of states in the region, starting with the most affected ones, he said, reiterating Romania’s principled view that these crises can only be settled peacefully, through open dialogue.
Part of his attendance of the summit, Iohannis had meetings on Saturday with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and a one-to-one meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk.