Remarks by Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr. Stefan Löfven at the First LAS-EU Summit

Published

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 24 February 2019

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Your majesties, excellencies, ministers, colleagues, neighbours,

Our regions are intertwined, through geographical proximity, economy and family ties. We share challenges, be it climate change, peace and security, economic development, terrorism or irregular migration.

And we share a duty – to address these challenges through cooperation,
as good neighbours should do.

Therefore, I warmly welcome this first Summit between the League of Arab States and the European Union, and I thank Egypt and President el Sisi for hosting us here.

* * *

Globalisation is a powerful force.

It has the potential to serve as a catalyst for us to achieve inclusive growth, meet the Sustainable Development Goals and create better societies for us all.

But it also has the potential to widen inequalities, creating uncertainty, unrest and a lack of security.

It is up to us to use the tools we have at hand – the greening and diversification of our economies, promotion of private sector growth, social dialogue, anti-corruption measures and public sector reform – to create a globalisation process that suppresses no one, and benefits us all.

* * *

That goal can only be reached through working together. We must use multilateralism as a tool to build democracy, security and prosperity.

For Yemen, the Stockholm Agreement represents a much-needed turning point, provided it is implemented. It requires continued engagement by all.

On Syria, we call on the regime to engage constructively in the UN-led political process and take irreversible steps towards a political solution. Until then, there can be no normalised relations or reintegration of Syria into international bodies.

And as a friend of Palestine and of Israel, I say this:
We must spare no effort, 25 years after the Oslo Accords, to support the two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both Israel and Palestine.

It is our joint responsibility to work for an end to the occupation and for a two-state solution, in accordance with international law and previous agreements. The Arab Peace Initiative is key in this regard.

* * *

Excellencies, neighbours,

Democracy, security and economic development are interrelated.

Without progress in one, sustainable results in the other two cannot be expected.

This is the reason why Sweden constantly stresses the importance of establishing inclusive, accountable and transparent institutions.

Together we need to intensify efforts to protect and promote human rights, the rule of law, and space for civil society.

We need to realise women’s full and meaningful participation in political, social and economic life, and the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality will be an important stepping stone in that endeavour. Freeing the full power and potential of all adults in an economy is both ethically right and financially smart.

* * *

Yes, we share more than an intertwined part of the world.

We share a history – and we share a future.

We share the responsibility, as leaders of our communities, to offer the means and the possibilities for our citizens to fulfil their dreams and to live their lives in dignity, freedom, peace and security.

And we share the possibility to do this together, as neighbours – and as friends.

Thank you.