Both sides declare first EU-Arab League summit a success

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By Mark Armstrong  with Reuters
Both sides declare first EU-Arab League summit a success
Copyright  Reuters

The first Arab League-European Union summit in Egypt came to an end on Monday with both sides saying the conference had been a success.

A second summit is due to take place in Brussels in 2022.

"As this meeting concludes, our follow-up to the summit will speak louder than our words,"  European Council President Donald Tusk told delegates. 

"We must all work together to turn our words into action and we or our successors can take stock at our next summit in Brussels in 2022.

"I would like to thank all leaders and everyone involved for their cooperation during the summit and again, thank you to President [Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi and the people of Egypt for their wonderful hospitality enabling the summit to be a great success. Thank you very much."

Egyptian President al-Sisi said the summit opened a new chapter in relations with the EU. 

"I am sure you will all agree with me on the fact that this summit's success is not only measured by the great discussions held therein, but also by the extent to which this successful summit becomes a new milestone for the deepening of the historical relations between the European and Arab regions."

British Prime Minister Theresa May attended the summit where she held several bilateral meetings with EU leaders concerning Brexit. But officials were keen to say that the event was not about Brexit.

The two-day summit at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh was billed as a starting point for the two regional bodies to boost cooperation on shared strategic priorities including migration, security and climate change.

Arab and European states sought common ground on security threats and regional crises including Yemen, Syria and Libya.