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MEDITERRANEAN: Cairo calling for stronger EU presence, Massari reports

13 February 2012
“Very interesting” was how Maurizio Massari, the foreign minister’s Special Envoy for the Mediterranean and the Arab Spring, defined his meetings in Egypt with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Osama Yassin, as well as political representatives such as independent liberal PM and Ahram Centre for Political Studies researcher Amr Shobaky, Social Democratic Party PM and civil society representative George Ishak, founder of the Kefaya movement Basta and the founder of daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“The situation is complex, especially from an economic viewpoint. It would have been impossible to imagine a quick fix transition”, underscored Massari, according to whom “we need to offer solidarity, be patient and facilitate the process in full accordance with what the Egyptians decide”. In all his meetings in Cairo, Minister Guilio Terzi’s special envoy was met with requests for a stronger EU presence. “Italy, in this sense, can act as a bridge with the EU, facilitating European policies regarding this region”, he observed. There will be a meeting in Rome on 20 February of the “5+5”, a dialogue forum involving the foreign ministers of Italy, France, Malta, Portugal and Spain with those of the southern Mediterranean countries of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia, which will be enlarged this year to the participation of Egypt, Greece and Turkey.

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