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Egypt’s role in the UN

Mary Fikry Antoun Milad

09 Dec 2016 7:25 pm

Several heads and officials of United Nations agencies in Egypt today took part in

the opening of a seminar organised jointly by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign

Affairs and Cairo University’s Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS)

on the role and contribution of Egypt to UN bodies and their activities. The two-

day debate which began on 5 December at the Faculty’s campus brought together

prominent Egyptian diplomats and political science scholars.

In a keynote speech, First Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador

Ayman Kamel cited Egypt’s role in issuing a UN Security Council resolution on

medical care in armed conflicts, and pointed to its initiative in the Council to hold

a ministerial discussion on “combating terrorist messages and ideologies in order

to give the intellectual and ideological aspect the highest attention and greatest

efforts in the fight against terrorism.” The discussion was conducted during

Egypt’s chairmanship of the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee. He also

noted that Egypt now has about 3,000 personnel in UN peacekeeping missions,

making it one of the world’s top ten troop-contributing countries and number one

in the Arab World.

Participants were also addressed by the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt El-

Mostafa Benlamlih who pointed to Egypt’s membership in the UN Security

Council for the fifth time since its inception and to its recently-won membership in

the UN Human Rights Council. He praised Egypt’s launch this year of its

Sustainable Development Strategy – Egypt Vision 2030 – and underlined the

“UN’s full commitment to support the country in its implementation and

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achievement of that strategy.” The UN official pointed out that Egypt was one of

the first countries volunteering to review its efforts to achieve sustainable

development in a New York meeting last July, praising “the significant progress

Egypt has made in empowering women and fighting female genital mutilation” and

in other areas.

 

In an introductory statement, the Dean of FEPS Dr Hala Elsaid revealed that the

Faculty will launch a research unit dedicated to the UN and peacekeeping, which

will focus on academic research about peacekeeping issues and conflicts, and on

how to activate the UN’s role in peacekeeping and conflict-resolution, and the role

expected of Egypt in peacekeeping. The unit will be producing “policy papers that

could help UN operatives in their work in Egypt.”

The Secretary General of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador

Mounir Zahran, also addressed the audience. He raised several questions which he

urged the seminar to tackle. Among them, for example, was a question regarding

the UN Charter’s fifth chapter on the Security Council that “had reflected the

balance of power in 1945, but has changed over the past 71 years. Isn’t it time to

adjust this existing imbalance?” he asked.

The seminar reviewed such items as Egypt’s contribution to international peace

and security, and issues of international law, the fight against terrorism and

organised crime. They also included the country’s inputs into UN development

activities and the work of international specialised agencies, as well as its

contribution to the UN’s programmatic budgets, its role in the face of global

economic and environmental challenges and climate change, in addition to

Egyptian nominations for positions with international organisations. 

Watani International

9 December 2016


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