A strategic partnership

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A strategic partnership

UAE and Egypt are cementing new ties for a secured future

By Dr Ahmed Mokhtar (Cairo Insights)

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Published: Mon 22 Sep 2014, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:41 PM

LAST WEEK’S visit of Gen. Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Cairo and his meeting with the Egyptian President, Abdul Fatah Al Sisi, served as a reminder of a similar visit last year and conveyed a clear message that the UAE will never leave Egypt alone in facing any kind of danger and will always support the will of the Egyptians. The visit also jogs our memory of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s announcement 40 years ago during the 1973 October War, when he said to the world that oil is not more precious than Arab blood.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi’s visit left profound positive effects into the hearts of ordinary Egyptians who have realised that Egyptian-UAE relations put nationalism above all considerations.

Experts in Egypt stressed that last week’s visit marked a transition in ties between both the countries, from a financial support phase to a strategic partnership that covers political, economic and security areas. They justified that by referring to the several meetings Gen. Shaikh Mohammed held with the Egyptian president, the prime minister, and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar. This is in addition to 11 Egyptian ministers taking part in bilateral meetings with their Emirati counterparts who were among the UAE delegation to Egypt last week, reflecting how deep the relations between the two countries have transformed.

The history of these relations was always moving towards a complimentary strategy stemmed from the people’s support to any movement by the leaders of the two nations, which would enhance such a powerful strategy that grew stronger since the era of the late president Anwar Al Sadat and Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Observers of the trends of bilateral relations between Egypt and the UAE know very well that the steps of these relations are marching thoughtfully since 1971, when the seven emirates united into one country under the rule of late Shaikh Zayed, followed by an Egyptian full support to the unified UAE regionally and internationally based on a belief that such unity is considered a pillar to security and stability to the Arab world.

The two countries have also enjoyed a growing investment and trade partnership during the era of Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, as there are 18 agreements regulating trade relations. The number of the UAE’s operating companies in Egypt currently stands at 460, up from 114 in the year 2000. In addition to the UAE’s participation in the investment capital of 456 companies in Egypt, with about LE45.1 billion, covering the fields of real estate development, oil exploration, tourism, chemical industries and mining. The total value of investments pumped in Egypt by the UAE has also soared to reach about $10 billion, with $2 billion of those for the agriculture sector only and the rest for different areas, including information and communications technology, real estate and banking services.

Egyptians are fully aware that the impact of every economic success the UAE achieves is felt by the Egyptian economy as well. This is clearly evident in the massive economic support by the UAE to Egypt since the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, as well as in the priority granted by the UAE to Egyptian job seekers on its soil to currently reach more than 250,000 in different fields of profession.

Gen. Shaikh Mohammed’s visit to Cairo last week led Egyptian political and economic experts to ask their government to act quickly to remove any obstacle facing Emirati investors. Egypt’s former prime minister Ali Lotfy described the visit as “extremely important”, saying that the UAE is significantly seeking to support the Egyptian people during the current tough times, and that the Egyptians will never forget that. Ali Lotfy also called for benefiting from the UAE’s experience in development, which enabled the country to secure a privileged location among the developed countries.

The timing of the visit was very accurate and proper, especially that it is telling everyone how strengthened bilateral relations between Egypt and the UAE have become amid internal and external challenges. It is no longer a secret that these distinguished relations have drawn a common pathway for the two nations to mark a strategic partnership that welcomes all who work for the interest of the Arab nation.

Dr Ahmed Mokhtar is the deputy editor in chief of Al AhramAl Masaai

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