“challenges in the middle east” in the presence of the former french minister of defense and foreign affairs

Cairo - Egypt | Tuesday, May 07, 2024:

On Tuesday evening, the Kemet Boutros-Ghali Foundation for Peace and Knowledge organized a symposium at the Diplomatic Club entitled “Challenges in the Middle East” in the presence of the former French Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs, and President Macron’s envoy to Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on the sidelines of his official visit to Cairo, and it was moderated by Ambassador Leila Bahaa El-Din. Boutros Ghali, Executive Director of the Kemet Foundation, in the presence of Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, a number of former foreign ministers, public figures, professors of political science, and ambassadors of some countries: “Our concern is particularly related to the dangers of an explosion in Lebanon, which is going through a complex stage on the political, economic, and social levels.” Stressing that there is an urgent need to help Lebanon get out of the institutional crisis it has been immersed in since 2022.
Part of the symposium
Mamdouh Abbas, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Kemet Boutros Ghali Foundation, opened the symposium, welcoming the French minister, considering that this meeting is the first activity undertaken by the Foundation within the framework of Francophonie.
Abbas said: “Today we are witnessing the collapse of the international system and a lack of respect for international law and the principles adopted by the victorious countries after World War II. We also see in the dealings of the international community an unprecedented degree of double standards in dealing with a hateful aggression against the only people under occupation.” He has been demanding his right to self-determination for more than seventy-five years.”
Abbas criticized the occupying state for allowing the occupying state to violate all international norms and conventions without the slightest attempt to curb its brutality, and for unleashing it to kill more than 35,000 civilians, most of whom are women and children, while receiving weapons worth billions of dollars without a ceiling.
Abbas directed his speech to the French minister, saying: “We can only convey to you some of the questions of the Egyptian street. Friendly France had a balanced Arab policy. When will it restore that balance, as it represents the European Union as a permanent member of the Security Council, it has special responsibilities in maintaining security.” And global peace and stability, as well as good relations and major interests with our Arab world?
Le Drian expressed his deep thanks for participating in the event, welcoming the attendees, led by Sameh Shoukry, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was keen to participate, praising the role of the Kemet Boutros-Ghali Foundation, which plays a prominent role in spreading debates of ideas.
He said that this comes in these tragic times once again, when the principles on which the international system was organized after 1945 have become questionable, and forums such as the Kemit Forum are necessary to build bridges and nourish dialogue in a useful way between nations and peoples, considering that Boutros Boutros-Ghali was part From a long line of great Egyptian diplomats.
Le Drian appreciated Boutros-Ghali’s positions, saying: “He was a prominent international figure as Secretary-General of the United Nations and then of the Francophonie Organization, and he remains a source of inspiration in many ways. I am thinking, of course, of the continuing commitment to human rights and their work in defense of international peace in a period that is not without very current resonance, characterized by the exacerbation of identity and post-partition conflicts in Yugoslavia,” he explained, “at a time when we talk more and more about so-called universality, we can remember Boutros Boutros-Ghali was a great voice, heard by the whole world, to overcome the idea of the division between an irreconcilable North and the South.”
Le Drian continued: “The moment we are living in is characterized by the way the international system has been overturned, and the return of the most violent wars, here in the Middle East with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without forgetting the increasing tensions between Iran and Israel in recent weeks, and in Europe with Russia’s war against Ukraine.” .
He continued: “Such a situation, which is the opposite of the times compared to the end of the twentieth century, requires on the part of those concerned with the state of the world and peace joint work to think and discuss without taboos or debates, in anticipation of what is useful.”
Le Drian praised the specificity of the relationship between France and Egypt, saying: “As for France, and I have had the opportunity to remember all my many trips here, Egypt is a great country and a historical and strategic partner, and we have a rich relationship built on common interests, in very diverse fields: security, culture, and Francophonie.” And the economy.”
He added: “For me personally as Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs, and today as President Macron’s personal envoy to the region, Egypt is a major partner that plays an essential role in many crises that have an impact on the security of the region and on the security of France and the French. I am thinking in particular of Libya, where I was able, in this regard, to appreciate the decisive contribution made by Egypt in the joint action to combat terrorism, which undermined the stability and security of the country and represented, and continues to be, a major challenge,” considering that Egypt’s location, at the joint of the White Sea The Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, giving it a very unique central location, and for France, Egypt is a leading economic and trade partner that we can rely on.
Le Drian reviewed some of the challenges facing Egypt, saying: “Egypt also faces conflicts and tensions in its immediate neighbourhood: in Sudan, of course, where the effects of the current war directly affect Egypt and rightfully raise its concerns, in the Horn of Africa, with the continuing dispute over the Renaissance Dam.” The major issue is still pending and a diplomatic solution must be found for the benefit of all countries in the region concerned.”
Le Drian touched on the war in Gaza, asking: “The entire region is experiencing a tragedy, since the unprecedented attack on October 7, during the Gaza War: Who better than Egypt, whose historical ties and geographical proximity to the lands are clear, is able to measure the risks.” And monitor it? “The dangers opened by this unprecedented conflict are its size of nearly 35,000 deaths, most of them women and children, its duration of more than 7 months so far, and its complexity linked to the games and the different actors, and sometimes it must be said about the contradictions.”
He considered what is happening now to be in fact a tragedy, saying: “In this moment, I would like to think in particular about the victims, whatever their nationality, as the Hamas attack on October 7 led to the death of more than a thousand people, including 42 Frenchmen, and among the 100 hostages still being held in Gaza are three Frenchmen, and as the President of the Republic stated, All victims are equal in our view, regardless of their origin and religion.
He added: “From this standpoint, I would like to stress that the suffering of the people of Gaza is, in our view, intolerable and unacceptable, and I would like here to salute the efforts of the countries of the region, starting with Egypt, to allow the entry and distribution of aid to civilians. I would also like to praise the work of the humanitarian actors who paid the price.” "It is too high a price, too high a price in this conflict."
He stressed that the conflict in the Middle East is also the result of a political “blackout” whose dramatic effects appeared in broad daylight, saying: “I think first and foremost about the absence of a Palestinian state, which is the origin and source of conflicts first, and the tensions that affect this region despite The international consensus in favor of the two-state solution was not widespread at all,” he added, adding: “The drama unfolding before our eyes will ultimately have the effect of reminding the world, the international community, that the Palestinian issue has remained central, not only to the Arab population, but also beyond.” “In the Islamic world, but also partly the great influence of Western views, including American views.”
He explained that from this standpoint, France has long been committed to promoting the two-state solution, which is the only political option to achieve long-term stability in the region.
During his lecture, Le Drian reviewed France’s policy and its position on the events and conflicts taking place in the region and the world in accordance with French principles, saying: “If we want to attempt a possible exercise of conflict, we must, in my opinion, take into account several considerations, with at least four keys.” Determines peace or war in the region.
He added that the first of these considerations is “the (Israeli-Israeli) developments specifically, in a national context that is more complex and more volatile than we think, with the possibility of holding elections that will be a key to the future of the current conflict, including its Lebanese and Iranian dimensions, and their counterpart, if I may say so.” I say the Palestinian - the Palestinian,” he asked: “What political future for Hamas the next day?” Will the Palestinian Authority be able to regain control of Gaza? Will Israeli obstruction of any role for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza continue? What is the international (and/or Arab) presence in the sector, and under what conditions?
Le Drian continued: “The second of these determinants is the American equation, less than 6 months before elections characterized by their ambiguity and the declared impact of the war in Gaza on the elections, especially in the famous ‘swing states’,” pointing out that the current protest movements in American universities (but Not only), and the development in a more critical direction towards the Israeli government of public opinion in this country, are elements that must be taken into consideration as well, asking: “Moreover, what effects should we expect on Israeli-American relations, on maintaining the commitment Will the United States support Tel Aviv or not, in the event that Trump returns to work? “A lot of questions are still open.”
He pointed out that the third factor is development in the Arab world, as it is partly conditional on the previous hypotheses, saying: “With a first note: the Arab countries in the region (I am thinking in particular of Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf states combined in the so-called Arab group) have submitted a proposal to end the crisis,” welcoming coordination. The forces between France and the Arab group aim to reach, as quickly as possible, ways and means for an effective and permanent ceasefire, and to address what we call “the next day.” It is hoped that these efforts will have an impact on the tragic situation that we see.
Le Drian considered the Iranian issue to be decisive in all its ramifications, from the axis established along the Shiite arc to the nuclear program, including tangible threats to the regions.
Le Drian reviewed the French position on the events in Gaza, explaining that with regard to France in particular, President Macron had proposed, since the beginning of the conflict, an “initiative for peace and security for all,” centered around three components.