ABU DHABI, The UAE and Egypt have close historic ties based on their awareness and understanding of the nature of regional and international developments and the importance of facing them with consistent and comprehensive policies and stances, to reinforce Arab and regional security.
The two countries have distinguished international statures, especially in light of their moderate and clear policies for facing regional challenges and establishing peace and stability in the region, as well as combatting extremism and terrorism and promoting interfaith dialogue.
Abu Dhabi and Cairo have historic relations that were established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who strongly believed in Egypt’s position and pivotal role in the region.
The history of Egyptian-Emirati ties dates back to before 1971, when the UAE was established under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed, who left a special will related to Egypt, stating, “The development of Egypt is the development of all Arabs. I told my sons to always support Egypt, and that is my will. I reiterate this before you, always stand by Egypt. That is the correct path to ensure the pride of all Arabs. Egypt is the heart of Arabs, if the heart stops, Arabs will not live.”
The UAE has always supported Egypt during its difficult times, including during the Tripartite aggression against Egypt ‘Suez Crisis’ in 1956 and the following war in June 1967.
Sheikh Zayed quickly supported Egypt against Israeli aggression and he continued this during the October 1973 War, when he decided to cut oil supplies in solidarity with Egypt and donated Pound 100 million to help Egypt and Syria.
Sheikh Zayed also participated in Egypt’s development process, which was crowned by the construction of the 9,500 acres Sheikh Zayed City that he offered to Egypt in 1995, upon a grant from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD.
Another city in Al Mansoura was also named after Sheikh Zayed, and in 2010, the Sheikh Zayed Canal Project was completed, to transport water from the river Nile to the desert in Toshka. A hospital was also named after Sheikh Zayed, as well as many schools.
Egypt was among the first countries to support the establishment of the UAE in 1971 and recognise it. It also supported the UAE internationally and regionally as a new cornerstone of Arab security, stability and power.
Since then, the ties between the UAE and Egypt have been based on their strategic partnership, which aims to benefit their peoples and enable them to face the challenges witnessed by the region. The leaders and officials have met numerous times, to enhance their coordination in facing these challenges.
In 2008, two Memorandums of Understanding, MoUs, were signed by the two countries related to political consultations between their ministries of foreign affairs, which stipulate that both parties must hold regular bilateral talks and consultations to discuss their joint ties and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. In 2017, both parties agreed to form two bilateral political consultation mechanisms that entail holding meetings every six months on the level of foreign affairs ministers and senior officials.
The recent years have highlighted the close political coordination between the two countries on Arab and international fronts.
The UAE is ranked first in the world and the Arab region in terms of foreign direct investment, FDI, in Egypt, amounting to about US$6.663 billion in 2018, compared to some $6.513 billion in 2017.
The value of trade between the two countries from January to October 2018 amounted to around $3 billion while the number of Emirati companies operating in Egypt totalled 1,065 in March 2019, compared to 923 in 2017.
Many agreements and protocols have been signed by the two countries in the fields of agriculture, trade, economic and technical cooperation and investment promotion; establishment of a high joint committee; cooperation between the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abu Dhabi; agreement for joint cooperation between the UAE Consumer Cooperative Union and the General Union of Cooperatives in Egypt; agreement to establish a joint businessmen council between the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Abu Dhabi; agreement on the encouragement and protection of investment; agreement on the legal and judicial cooperation; airline agreement between their respective territories, as well as MoU between the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and the General Authority for Investment of Egypt.
On the cultural front, the ties between the two countries are close and strong and joint meetings between Egyptian and Emirati intellectuals are organised annually during cultural, scientific and artistic conferences taking place in both countries.
In recognition and appreciation of the UAE’s role in supporting Egypt’s cultural sector, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of Egypt, presented, in May 2015, the “Order of the Republic ” to H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The Al-Azhar Mosque is receiving official and popular appreciation from the UAE as a moderate religious centre, and under this framework, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque announced, in April 2013, an initiative to fund several projects launched by the mosque valued at AED250 million.
The projects include the restoration and maintenance of the Al-Azhar Library and the restoration of its contents, such as transcripts and publications, as well as the adoption of an e-tracking system. They also include the construction of four residential buildings in Cairo for the students of Al-Azhar, and the design and construction of a new library.
Source: Emirates News Agency