Cairo/Brussels, 26 October 2017 – President Paolo Alli (Italy) concluded a two-day visit to Cairo aimed at strengthening the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s partnerships with Egypt and with Arab regional institutions.
In his talks with the Speaker of Egypt’s Parliament Ali Abdel Aal, and Defence Minister General Sedki Sobhi Sayyid Ahmed, Mr Alli emphasized Egypt’s central role in a region beset with challenges - from the ongoing rift within Libya to instability in Sub-Saharan Africa, from Sunni-Shia tensions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and from the multifaceted terrorist threat across the region to ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Addressing fellow legislators from Africa and the Middle East at a regional conference on the role of parliamentarians in the fight against terrorism, Mr Alli noted that international cooperation was “indispensable” in combatting terrorism. “No country is immune to this threat. And no country can address it on its own. Which is why we must work together, using all the tools at our disposal.”
He encouraged Egypt and other governments of the region, in their response to terrorism and other security challenges, to take full advantage of the opportunities for cooperation offered by NATO’s new Strategic Direction South, and the Hub for the South established at NATO’s military headquarters in Naples. “The Hub is much more than a tool for military cooperation. It will provide an essential link between NATO and our partners in the South which will help us better anticipate our common threats”, Mr Alli stressed.
Meeting with the Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, Mr Alli expressed the hope that the Arab League would support and amplify the strengthening of relations between NATO and its Arab partners. In the first-ever meeting between the Presidents of the NATO PA and of the Arab Parliament, Mr Alli and his Saudi counterpart, Meshal Faham Alsulami, explored ways in which enhanced parliamentary cooperation could complement governmental efforts.
The NATO PA maintains relations with some 15 parliaments in Africa and the Middle East, including Egypt which holds the status of parliamentary observer within the Assembly. The NATO PA’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group provides a dedicated forum for dialogue between Allied legislators and their counterparts from Africa and the Middle East on all issues of common interest.