Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met with representatives of several nations as well as representatives of various international organizations while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) 68th Ordinary Session.
Fahmy met with the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. A statement by the foreign ministry said the two discussed ways to “activate the role of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation” with regards to spreading tolerant Islamic values and protecting minority Muslims.
The two discussed the conditions of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, ahead of a scheduled visit to Myanmar by an OIC delegation.
In a speech Fahmy delivered during a meeting with the OIC Contact group on Myanmar, Fahmy said the “Rohingya minority still faces many challenges starting from deprivation of the right to citizenship based on the 1982 Citizenship Law, not motivating refugees to return and the continued displacement campaigns…”
Fahmy said the OIC has the responsibility of not only protecting the rights of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, but also all Muslims in the country. He added that the third wave of attacks in the city of Meiktila in March “reflects an extension of the violence”, which may signal the transformation from sporadic incidents of violence to systematic violence based on ethnic or sectarian basis.
Fahmy welcomed the invitation from Myanmar’s government to the OIC and called on authorities to set a time frame for the visit so that the OIC can determine the situation on the ground in Myanmar and set an action plan.
It was agreed at the end of the meeting, that a delegation of five countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey would visit Myanmar.
Fahmy also met with US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk. A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Fahmy asserted the “fundamentals” of the Egyptian position regarding the Palestinian cause: “That the Palestinian Israeli negotiations are serious, that they follow the agreed timetable and that they lead to the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state based on the June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.” Indyk is a former US Ambassador to Israel.
Fahmy added that Israel must halt all policies that destroy the chances for peace, with settlement activity at the forefront of these policies.
Fahmy met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti and the two ministers discussed regional issues including the Nile water issue. “The two countries agreed on the importance of continued cooperation because they have common interests, being downstream countries,” a statement by the foreign ministry said.
The meeting comes after Fahmy’s meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart, also on the sidelines of UNGA, in which the two discussed water security. Fahmy and Karti agreed on the need to speed up the tripartite meeting the countries agreed on in June. The meeting will involve talks between the water ministers of the three countries and is set to take place next month.
Egypt has taken part in talks between African foreign ministers and the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Fahmy delivered a speech during the meeting saying that the partnership between Africa and China, which have abundant human and natural resources can “contribute significantly and effectively in facing the economic, developmental, and political challenges our countries face.”
He said the talks reflect the depth of strategic ties between “the two parties”, which have developed through years of mutual support and common interests.
Egypt also praised the role of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), describing it as “the institutional framework for consultation and dialogue between China and Africa as a whole” and said it was proud to support FOCAC since its beginning. Egypt said FOCAC helped translate political convergence into economic relation. “Perhaps the most notable indicator is the steady growth of trade between China and Africa, reaching nearly $200m.”
Fahmy also met with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramadan al-Amamra and discussed bi-lateral relations and regional issues in Africa as well as developments in Syria. They also discussed the African Union’s Peace and Security Council’s decision to freeze Egypt’s activities.
Fahmy also met with Argentine, Finnish, Serbian, Romanian, Sierra Leonean and Kazakhstani foreign ministers, discussing relations between Egypt and each of these countries.
Apart from the political talks, Fahmy discussed the role Egypt plays in disarmament, particularly in nuclear non-proliferation, with Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Predatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation. A foreign ministry statement said Fahmy expressed frustration with the double standards followed in issue of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. He asserted the importance of ratifying the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty for all countries in the region.
Fahmy also demanded that all countries in the region sign the Non Proliferation Treaty and work on clearing the Middle East of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
Fahmy is scheduled to deliver Egypt’s speech to the UNGA meeting on Saturday. The ministry spokesman said that Fahmy’s speech would “explain the principles and goals of the 30 June Revolution, defend it strongly, and will aim to gather political and economic support for [the revolution].”