Egypt’s El-Sisi, top Iraqi cleric discuss political developments in Iraq

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi met with Ammar Al-Hakim, head of the Iraqi Wisdom Movement, in Cairo on Sunday. The two leaders discussed the latest political developments in Iraq and prominent regional issues of mutual interest.

During the meeting, El-Sisi affirmed his pride in the fraternal relations between Cairo and Baghdad and his government’s support of Iraq’s efforts to achieve progress.

El-Sisi also acknowledged Al-Hakim’s constructive role in maintaining stability in Iraq.

Al-Hakim likewise commended El-Sisi’s leadership and expressed Iraq’s aspiration to continue strengthening relations with Egypt, as well as his country’s appreciation for Egyptian efforts to support Iraq and its keenness to benefit from Egyptian experiences in all fields.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry also met with Al-Hakim.

Ahmed Abu Zeid, spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, said the two discussed a number of regional issues of common concern and affirmed their interest in continued cooperation to improve security in the region.

Shoukry expressed Egypt’s full support of Iraq in its war against terrorism and highlighted the importance that Egypt attributes to the tripartite cooperation mechanism between Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan, a reflection of the countries’ common political will.

Separately, during a discussion with experts of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies, Al-Hakim said there are many areas in which Egypt and Iraq can coordinate, citing the importance of regional cooperation as a reason why “Iraq hosted five rounds of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, in addition to discussions between other countries.”

Iraq was able to overcome, to a large extent, the challenges facing it, especially those posed by terrorist groups, which are now only present in some small enclaves in the desert, he added.

“Sectarianism in Iraq is political, not social, and there are political forces that want to entrench themselves behind sects to gain (benefits),” Al-Hakim said.

There has been a “national realization,” he added, that “there is no way to overcome challenges except through dialogue” that promotes “internal solutions” rather than ones “imposed from outside.”

He emphasized that strengthening the state is the main solution to the problems that face it.

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