The Egyptian and Lebanese presidents have agreed to bolster Cairo-Beirut cooperation to respond to joint concerns about the threat of terrorism in the Arab world.
After a meeting in Cairo on Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun attended a joint press conference, during which Sisi said that the two sides had agreed that their countries needed to stand together against the menace of terrorism.
Sisi said that Egypt would seek to boost capabilities of the Lebanese army and security forces to help safeguard Lebanon, which he described as “a unique model of coexistence in the region.”
Lebanon is suffering from the spillover of militancy in neighboring Syria. Takfiri terrorists have been active on the Lebanese areas situated close to the Syrian border.
In Egypt, militant have been active especially in the restive Sinai Peninsula over the past years, carrying out attacks against the country's military and security forces.
Aoun, who is on his first visit to Cairo since his election in October 2016, hailed Egypt’s role as a unifying element in the Arab world, saying that Cairo could facilitate the settlement of disputes in crisis-hit countries like Syria.
“Hopes of the role that Egypt could play are high. An Egypt of moderation and openness ... could launch an Arab rescue initiative based on a strategy to fight terrorism,” Aoun said during the joint press conference.
Aoun is in Egypt on the first leg of a trip that would also take him to Jordan. He is planned to meet senior political and religious figures in Egypt. The Maronite Christian and an ally of the Hezbollah resistance movement has tried to make overtures to countries that have had complicated ties with Lebanon. Aoun’s election put an end to over two years of political deadlock in Lebanon.
Aoun’s trip to Egypt is the third official visit by the Lebanese president since he took office. He visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar in January.