SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt — European and Arab leaders on Sunday opened their first summit in a bid to bolster cooperation as EU President Donald Tusk said neighbors “should not leave it to powers far from our region”, alluding to China and Russia. Host Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi painted a “bleak” picture for a region hit by wars and terrorism as he appealed for deeper cooperation, in his opening summit speech at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. European Union countries view the summit as a way to protect their traditional diplomatic, economic and security interests while China and Russia move to fill a vacuum left by the United States. Tusk, the president of the European Council who organizes summits for EU countries, acknowledged “there are differences between us” but said neighbors had more at stake than distant powers. “We need to cooperate and not leave it to global powers far from our region,” the former Polish premier told leaders from about 40 countries. He did not name those powers but an EU source confirmed he meant China and Russia. China is increasing trade with the region and has established a military base in Djibouti. Russia militarily backs… Read full this story
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