Egypt: Speech By H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi At the Second Session of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development

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In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Your Majesties, Excellencies, African Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

August Gathering,

At the outset, I am delighted to welcome you all to the second session of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development. We launched together this interactive African platform during Egypt's presidency of the African Union (AU) in 2019 to push ahead with an ambitious agenda acting on strengthening the relationship between the state of peace and security. Furthermore, it works on achieving sustainable development in our continent, and strengthening cooperation among our countries and with our partners.

The exceptional circumstances imposed by the "Coronavirus" pandemic prevented us from vis-à-vis meeting in "Aswan" city last year. However, Egypt was keen to hypothetically hold the second session of the Forum to use the momentum generated by the first session and the achieved successes. Driven by its faith, Egypt believes that the present time is the optimum to discuss together the daunting challenges facing our continent. This is done to consider and seek the best ways and mechanisms to shore up our common efforts to get over the pandemic and to rebuild better to cross our continent to safety.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have demonstrated over the past year that the challenges and the consequences posed by the pandemic would not have deterred us from advancing our African agenda, but rather increase our determination to move forward to achieve our plans and building back better in order to achieve the goals of the AU's Agenda 2063.

Conceivably, the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the beginning of this year is a perfect representation of the success of our collective efforts. Thus, I reiterate Egypt's full support to the AfCFTA and the need to accelerate the implementation of its entitlements, finalize the negotiation process, and activate its policies.

Furthermore, infrastructure projects are considered a fundamental pillar for development and recovery efforts in Africa. Today, we urgently need ambitious cross-border projects such as transportation, roads and electricity linkage to promote the intended economic and regional integration. This is in addition to creating an enabling environment to achieve higher standards of development and to provide job opportunities, thus, contributes to overcoming the pandemic's economic repercussions. Egypt's pioneer experience in infrastructure projects is considered an example that we can happily share with our brothers.

I would also like to highlight the importance of information technology in dealing with the pandemic's repercussions in addition to its pivotal role in all aspects of our lives during this period. This underlines the importance of increasing investments in the field of digitalization in our continent, thus, taking maximum advantage of opportunities provided through this technology in different fields.

Moreover, the comprehensive recovery from the pandemic requires the advance of the sustainable developmental policies including economic, social and environmental dimensions as the pandemic showed inextricable interdependence of dangers and challenges that face our communities and countries. We are quite sure that the Forum's discussions will provide an appropriate opportunity to exchange experiences and opinions on how to develop these policies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Aside from the heavy burdens that affected our countries due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Africa is still suffering from the dangers of armed conflicts and civil wars which threaten the sustainable security in our continent. Furthermore, terrorism has been undermining the stability of our peoples in addition to what it brings about of cross-border phenomena such as, smuggling and proliferation of weapons, aggravation of organized crimes, human trafficking, illegal immigration and involuntary displacement.

The pandemic, due to its significant economic and social repercussions, has contributed to the aggravation of these dangers. This requires the unification of efforts to support frameworks and mechanisms to prevent and settle disputes, and enhance the capabilities of the countries of the continent to deal with existing threats and dangers. Furthermore, it is important to focus on promoting the woman's role in peace, security and investment agenda, investing in applying a precautionary approach for crises, strengthening relations among active parties in fields of peace, security and development. Thus, this contributes to treat the underlying causes of the disputes.

Within this context, I would like to emphasize the importance of choosing "arts, culture and heritage" as the theme of the African Union for the year 2021; being the soft power that leads to the rapprochement of peoples. This should help deal with the challenges with an enlightened thought that promotes to the culture and civilization of our African countries and enhances peace, security and development in our great continent.

Moreover, achieving sustainable peace requires protecting the post-conflict countries against any setbacks through building the resilience capacity of their institutions, enabling them to perform the assigned tasks and advancing development.

From this standpoint, we affirm our commitment to assume our responsibility in leading the file of reconstruction and development in the post-conflict phase through activating the African Union Center which is concerned with this issue on the land of Egypt. This Center should lay down development plans and programs in coordination with each concerned country according to its national situations and priorities, and discuss the best mechanisms and means of their implementation. Furthermore, Egypt's presidency of the UN Peacebuilding Commission opens the horizon towards strengthening cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in this field.

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government of Africa,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In these exceptional circumstances that our world is witnessing nowadays in light of the outbreak of the "Corona" pandemic, Egypt affirms that international solidarity is an urgent matter for the humanity to overcome this crisis in peace and security. Despite our regional and international efforts to confront the pandemic, the current stage has brought new challenges, foremost of which is providing the necessary vaccine for our peoples. I would like to emphasize in this occasion on the African demand of the necessity of providing such vaccine in a more equitable and just manner in response to the demands of the peoples of our continent.

Dear Guests;

I conclude my words with a hope to see you soon when we turn the page of Corona pandemic, then we'll be able to convene our coming conference face to face here in Aswan; the land of history and civilization.

Thank you for listening.

May the Peace and Mercy of Allah be Upon You.

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