El Sisi visit attests to solid UAE-Egypt ties
▶ The UAE’s partnership with Egypt is pivotal to the region’s economic wellbeing and safety
Astrengthening of “brotherly relations”: that’s how Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, described the two-day state visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who arrived in the UAE capital on Wednesday. The visit culminated in Mr El Sisi being bestowed with the Order of Zayed, the UAE’s highest civilian honour, and the two shaking hands on a $20 billion (Dh73bn) joint investment fund to develop economic and social programmes in both countries.
Mr El Sisi’s visit to the UAE is the latest in a series of UAE-Egyptian meetings that attest to the long-standing friendship between the two Arab countries. In the past year alone, Sheikh Mohamed has paid several visits to Cairo, and Mr El Sisi has visited Abu Dhabi twice in less than two years. The UAE and Egypt are both diverse nations that share the same language and many cultural ties. This bond predates the creation of the UAE. When Sheikh Zayed marked his fifth anniversary as Ruler of Abu Dhabi in November 1971, two days before the emirates became one country, the guest of honour was the “Star of the East”, the legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, who flew to Abu Dhabi for a series of concerts. She was given an antique necklace of Arabian Gulf pearls by the new president.
The two Arab nations also have deep social ties, with 400,000 Egyptians choosing to make the UAE their home away from home. The close-knit Egyptian community has helped build this nation from its very early days. Not only is its contribution to the UAE vital to the economy, it also adds to the rich diversity of the country.
The UAE’s solidarity and support for Egypt has been equally vital to the Arab nation, which has been faced with many challenges over the years. A decade ago, the UAE emerged as the leading foreign government investing in Egypt. Under Mr El Sisi, those ties have grown stronger. Since last year, the UAE has held training programmes for Egyptian government employees to improve their performance and help achieve the goals of Egypt Vision 2030, an initiative that aims to improve inclusivity and opportunities.
The UAE’s partnership with Egypt involves a number of strategic interests that are pivotal to the region’s economic wellbeing and safety. Mr El Sisi’s visit saw the signing of a host of agreements, including the Dh73bn fund. In addition to economic and cultural ties, the nations share a common goal of eradicating extremism and fighting terrorist groups, such as ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, which have plagued the Arab world for too long. But fighting terror also means looking after those whose lives have been scarred by extremists and the UAE has shown it is willing to lend a helping hand when tragedy strikes. Sheikh Mohamed donated more than Dh11 million to rebuild a cancer hospital in Cairo that was damaged by a terrorist attack in August, killing 20 people. Such acts of kindness can only foster deeper ties between the two nations, which have undoubtedly reached new heights over the past two days.