During a visit to Egypt, the Russian foreign minister has said that Western states, which pursued regime change policies and funded militants, are to blame for the chaos and terror attacks in the Greater Middle East, especially in Libya.
Sergei Lavrov made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, which followed a joint meeting of the Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers in Cairo on Monday.
Combating terrorism topped the meeting’s agenda, with the two sides stressing the importance of joint efforts in effectively countering the global threat.
“The recent attack on the Coptic Christians once again highlights the need for vigilance. We stand united in our attempt to boost anti-terrorist efforts around the globe,” Lavrov said, referring to the May 26 Daesh terror attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt’s southern Minya Province that killed 28 people, including children.
The terror assault prompted the Egyptian military to carry out several airstrikes against purported terrorist training camps in neighboring Libya, which is grappling with violence since a NATO military intervention in the country following its 2011 uprising.
On May 27, the Egyptian foreign minister defended the airstrikes, noting that the terrorists’ facilities were completely destroyed.
Lavrov touched upon the ongoing Libyan conflict and its threat to the security in neighboring countries, including Egypt, saying the Western involvement in the chaos there eventually turned the country into “a backyard for terrorists.”
“Libya was bombed and its government was violently overthrown. It was turned into a backyard for terrorists and criminals. The regime was changed with the help of those [militants], who came from Europe. They were free to leave their countries because everybody knew where they were going and what they were going to do there. And then they were welcomed back,” Russia’s top diplomat said.
He urged the Western countries to bear responsibility for the chaos that is the result of their “irresponsible policies.”
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also discussed issues related to fighting terrorism and extremism with his Egyptian counterpart.
The two parties agreed to continue sharing intelligence and discussed joint exercises and military training.
On Monday, the Russian ministers held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a meeting also attended by the Egyptian foreign and defense ministers to discuss the ongoing crises in the Middle East and North Africa.