The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, participated in a quadrilateral meeting that took place in Cairo on Sunday (19 March) to discuss the escalating situation in Libya. The aim of the meeting was to coordinate work and consolidate regional support and UN efforts for the process of political transition in Libya. The gathering was hosted by the Arab League and was attended by officials from the African Union and the UN envoy to Libya in order to discuss the latest security developments in the North African country.
Cairo’s quadrilateral meeting is a part of Egypt’s continuous efforts to support Libya. Egypt has actively sought a solution to the Libyan conflict over the past few months. The turmoil in the country has intensified over the past few years following the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi, as militants have taken over several areas in Libya. Egypt entered a new phase of strategic relationship with the EU last month when the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry visited Brussels and paved the way for an EU-Egypt association agreement. The February deal that both sides signed had been under negotiation since February 2016 – and it will frame the country’s relationship with European institutions over the next three years.
On his visit, Mr. Shoukry met with 28 European foreign ministers, making it “the first meeting of its kind with a non-EU minister this year,” the official statement read. The gathering tackled EU-Egyptian relations and Mr. Shoukry discussed ways how the EU could support Egypt economically and politically, given that the country’s stability is an essential European interest, the statement further added. “Egyptian national institutions bear the responsibility for safeguarding human rights in Egypt,” Mr. Shoukry stressed but also argued that human rights “include social and economic rights; they are not restricted to political rights.”