Leaders From European Union, Arab League Hold First-ever Summit
Leaders from the European Union and Arab League converged on the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for a first-ever summit geared towards enhancing cooperation between the blocs on critical issues such as the fight against terrorism and prevention of illegal immigration. As regards the latter, Brussels reportedly wants Egyptian President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi to begin detaining migrants leaving Libya and returning them to the African mainland. In return, Cairo purportedly would receive high-profile European recognition, the promotion of tourism to Sinai and a muting of criticism of Sisi’s human rights record. However, the sides apparently already hit roadblocks, manifest in the inability to agree on a draft statement touching upon many divisive topics including the wars in Syria and Yemen as well as the stalemated Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “The meeting is the message,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a press conference, seemingly conceding that the gathering might end without concrete results.