Europe has ‘new understanding’ of Middle East, says Arab League spokesman

Europe has ‘new understanding’ of Middle East, says Arab League spokesman

CAIRO (Rahnuma): There is a new understanding between European leaders and their Middle Eastern counterparts following an historic summit, the Arab League spokesman said.

The two-day meeting took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and it was the first ever summit between the two regions.

European Council President Donald Tusk co-chaired it with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Tusk represented the European Union (EU), along with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Terrorism and migration were among the issues discussed, said League of Arab States (LAS) spokesman Mahmoud Afifi.

“This is the first summit between the two sides on a leadership scale. We look at it as the cornerstone for establishing a new institution of values between the Europeans and Arabs,” Afifi told Arab News. “We have been in contact with the Europeans for years in different forums at the ministerial level, senior official levels, but to take it to the highest level – the level of leadership.

“It was the frank discussions between people from both sides during the bilateral meetings, in addition to the high commitment and solidarity shown between Arab leaders while explaining the real situation in the region and defending Arab interests vis-a-vis the Europeans.”

The most significant summit outcome, he said, was not in the final communique although everyone was aware of it. “(It) is this new understanding for how things really work in the Arab region and Middle East. Because eight years ago, many European countries were in support of what happened there. It wasn’t an Arab Spring at all, but a destruction.”

He said that Europeans at the time thought it was nice, assuming that the countries would turn into Switzerland. The opposite proved to be true, he added.

“The EU understands and the most important thing for the two sides is to maintain the concept of a nation state. Because, without having stability inside a country, that would lead to a major catastrophe like what we have witnessed in the past years, which lead to terrorism and the massive flows of migration.”

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