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In this file photo taken on October 24, 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) gestures as Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (1st row, 2L) and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (2R) pose for a family photo with African countries leaders attending 2019 Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum in Sochi. Russia reinvest into its old relationship with Mali in the name of fighting terror, as the security situation in the country is deteriorating despite the presence of about 4.500 French soldiers in the Sahel region. / AFP / Sergei CHIRIKOV Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi Wednesday opened a forum aimed at promoting Africa’s peace and development as Cairo is seeking to strengthen links with the continent.

“We are gathering at this forum to discuss challenges facing us in Africa, foremost among them the state of peace and security, achieving sustainable development to which we aspire as well as protecting our African countries and societies from the spread of the terrorism plague,” Al Sissi told African heads of state and governments at the two-day event in Egypt’s southern city of Aswan.

“Amidst these challenges, we find it obligatory to deal responsibly with negative repercussions of climate change that has worsened problems of desertification and scarcity of water and natural resources,” he added in a televised address.

Egypt is currently holding the rotating presidency of the African Union.

Call to consolidate Africa's stability

Al Sissi described the nascent forum as a regional and continental platform for holding discussion and exchanging expertise.

“Egypt believes that the best way to establish peace and stability in Africa and the world is to work to address radical causes of the problems that threaten peace and stability and to head off the eruption of disputes and crises in the first place,” he added.

He called for concerted regional and international efforts to consolidate Africa’s stability.

“This should be based on the principle of sovereignty of countries and the pivotal role of governments in crafting peace agreements and development plans according to national priorities,” he said.

In October, Al Sissi unveiled the idea of the forum at an African-Russian gathering in the city of Sochi, saying it can serve as a focal point for politicians, peacemakers, intellectuals and development partners.