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"Today we share a feeling of sadness and mutual condolences, as we see innocent victims falling in Berlin, in Jordan, in Cairo, in Ankara with the assassination of the Russian Ambassador [Andrei Karlov]." With these words the High Representative Federica Mogherini introduced the 4th European Union-League of Arab States meeting, this morning in Cairo. "We all face a wave of inconceivable violence," she went on, referring to the recent terrorist attacks. Only "a common response to the terrorist violence can bring results, for the sake of civilians across our region," Mogherini stressed. More than ever Europe and the Arab world "have to show determination to jointly prevent and fight terrorism in our territories and globally."
The High Representative described the EU-LAS meeting as something more than a "bi-regional summit," because – she said – "we share the same region. What happens in Syria, in Libya or even in Yemen has a direct impact on Europe. And the European Union is an essential partner for growth, peace and stability in the Arab world."
Regional cooperation is essential to many crises, from Yemen to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. "In Syria a battle might end but the war still rages on," Mogherini added. "Peace requires justice for all Syrians and a genuine, inclusive political transition." All regional players have to be involved "to turn a proxy war into a proxy peace."
"It is time to move beyond old and new dividing lines," she insisted, and work on "a positive agenda, to invest together on our youth, to create jobs, to achieve participation in our societies."
In the margins of the meeting, Mogherini agreed upon new instruments for cooperation with Egypt and Jordan. Together with the Egyptian Minister for International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, Mogherini signed two EU assistance programmes. "This is time for concrete cooperation. With these programmes – said the High Representative – we will work together to create jobs for young people, support children attending school, including the most vulnerable. The priority for the European Union is working for the citizens of our region."
Mogherini also finalised with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, the EU-Jordan Partnership priorities and compact. "Through the agreed partnership priorities and compact, we mark our common objective to work together in addressing the needs of our peoples, by strengthening our already excellent cooperation." The new agreement will help tackle the impact of the Syria conflict and improve EU-Jordan our bilateral relationship.
Mogherini's agenda in Cairo also included bilateral meetings with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.