Sisi: Boosting, restoring relations with int'l community since 2014


Fri, 02 Feb 2018 - 10:10 GMT

Egypt has been achieving several breakthroughs in boosting and maintaining foreign relations since Sisi came into power in Jun. 8, 2014 – Photo compiled by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain

Egypt has been achieving several breakthroughs in boosting and maintaining foreign relations since Sisi came into power in Jun. 8, 2014 – Photo compiled by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain

CAIRO – 3 February 2018: As President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came in power on Jun. 8, 2014, Egypt has been achieving several breakthroughs in boosting and maintaining foreign relations after years of deteriorating and failed diplomatic approaches.

EU relations restored

Before Sisi came into power, Egyptian-EU relations were hindered as the European side did not fully understand the Egyptian situation after the June 30 popular uprising that toppled former Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Morsi.

After a series of tours and meetings with European leaders and decision makers, relations between Egypt and Europe began to stabilize.

Sherif Ismail
Sherif Ismail, an Egyptian engineer who has been Prime Minister of Egypt since 2015; he was Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources from 2013 to 2015.

The Egyptian Cabinet said in a statement on Oct. 30, 2017 that the government signed agreements with the European Union for around €500 million in funding for development projects over the next three years.

The agreement followed the 7th EU-Egypt Association Council last July, which was held for the first time since April 2010.

The meeting was headed by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Participants discussed all aspects of Egyptian-European relations.

It was aimed that the meeting would deepen the partnership between Egypt and Europe in accordance with the association agreement signed between both parties. The association agreement includes the facilitation of trade between the two markets through the establishment of a free trade area.

According to the European Parliament Think Tank, since 2004, bilateral EU-Egypt trade has almost tripled, from €11.8 billion to €27.7 billion in 2015.

EU financial assistance to Egypt amounted over €1.3 billion in grants by last May; around 45 percent of the aforementioned figure was allocated for economic and social development in the country.

By Oct. 26, 2017, UK investments in Egypt amounted $43 billion in the fiscal 2016/17, with over 1,450 British businesses active.

African Union membership regained, Africa relations boosted

Considering Egypt’s role and stature in Africa, President Sisi saw it as a necessity to strengthen Egypt’s existence in the African region. On Aug. 14, 2017, Sisi began a 4-day tour that included visiting Tanzania, Rwanda, Gabon and Chad.

The tour, however, was not the first, as he visited several African countries since taking office in June 2014; the visits included summits and bilateral talks with African leaders.

On June 2014, the Egyptian leader participated in the African Union Summit in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea as his first presidential visit within the continent. The step was deemed a restoration of African-Egyptian relations after years of neglect.

Sisi in Summit
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi participated in the opening session of the fourth Arab-Africa Summit, which was held in the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo on November 24, 2016

Several short visits during 2015 followed the African Union Summit; the Egyptian president visited Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda per Yuri Museveni invitation on December 2016.

The visits were considered to be a move that helped spurring Egyptian-African trade exchanges, investments, economic partnership and cooperation in various sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, vocational training, banking, mining and human development.

Last June, the African Union's Peace and Security Council has unanimously agreed to unfreeze Egypt's membership to the union.

Sisi in Africa
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L), Sudan's Omar al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn shake hands on a new Nile River deal. Sisi has engaged sub-Saharan Africa more - AFP

The decision to unfreeze Egypt’s membership came after a year of suspension from the 54-nation council after the ousting of Morsi.

President Sisi was also invited to attend an extraordinary African Summit meeting in Ouagadougou last Sep. 6.

Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal brokered

As relations between Fatah and Hamas were obstacle for around 10 years, Egypt managed to broker a reconciliation deal between the two parties.

The rival Palestinian fictions signed a reconciliation deal after Hamas agreed to hand over administrative control of Gaza, a decade after seizing the enclave in a civil war.

Palestine reconciliation
Heads of Fatah and Hamas delegations, Azzam al-Ahmad (L) and Saleh al-Aruri (R) after signing a reconciliation deal in

The deal was signed in Cairo by new Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri and Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation for the talks, at the headquarters of Egypt’s intelligence service, which oversaw the negotiations.

The meeting discussed the Palestinian situation on various aspects including deepening and boosting national unity and the threats that face the Palestinian case in light of an escalated Israeli aggression against Palestine’s authorities and people.

Key participants at the meeting showed much appreciation to Egypt, under the leadership of President Sisi, for its significant role in the Palestinian case and its interest to achieve independence and stability and end schism in the Palestinian scene.

Fighting for Jerusalem

On Dec. 16, Egypt proposed a draft resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was set to vote on the resolution.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vetoed Egypt’s resolution, as the United States is one of the five permanent UNSC Member States possessing the veto right.

The resolution was backed by all 14 other Security Council members in the vote.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly agreed to hold a rare emergency special session at the request of Arab and Muslim countries to vote on the draft.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vetos an Egyptian-drafted resolution regarding recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem - REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Arab media figures and analysts have hailed the persistence of Egypt to defend Palestinians’ rights, despite Egypt’s strong relations with the U.S., including being one of the top recipients of the annual U.S. aid package.

Al-Azhar said in a statement that the UNGA vote expresses the rejection of the international community regarding the “unjust” decision over Jerusalem and the necessity to reverse it, as it violates international law and human rights.

Drawing anti-terrorism strategy for the world

During his participation at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit that took place in Riyadh on May 22, 2017, the Egyptian president presented a four-pillar counterterrorism strategy that goes beyond military and strategic tactics to tackle issues including ideology and support for terrorist organizations.

Sisi urged Arab and Muslim leaders to rise above their differences and collaborate with each other and the rest of the world to battle the growing threat of terrorism.

Sisi's speech during the summit came as follows:

“The comprehensive approach, based on the four aspects that I have mentioned, ought to lay the foundation for a new phase of cooperation among our countries and peoples,” Sisi said during the summit.

Russian air links resumed

After a 26-month air traffic suspension between Egypt and Russia, the Egyptian government spared no effort to settle the case, using all diplomatic capabilities to speed negotiations with the Russian side, until Russia decided to resume air links with Egypt.

Russian authorities always stressed that the resumption of flights would only be possible after Egypt satisfies all the demands made by Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits by Russian security to behold changes implemented by the government.

During these visits, the Russian side affirmed that Egyptian aviation authorities have made significant progress in complying with Russia’s aviation safety requirements.

On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Cairo for the second time since President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014. The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after the bilateral relations have been up and down.

Back to Inter-Parliamentary Union

After about four-year lapse, Egypt’s parliament is to take part in the 277th session of the Executive Committee of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Which is scheduled to be held in Switzerland on Feb. 3.

Egypt resumed its membership in the IPU in January, over two years after its membership was frozen in 2013 for not having a functioning parliament. Egypt has been without a parliament since a court ruling dissolved the 2012 Islamist-dominated chamber.

Participating MPs from Egypt include parliament speaker Ali Abdel Al, secretary-general Ahmed Saadeddin, the head of the parliamentary bloc, Alaa Abed, and appointed MP Rania Elwani.

In October, Abdel Aal chaired the coordination meeting of the Arab Group in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on behalf of the Moroccan Parliament Speaker and President of the Arab Inter-parliamentary Union (AIPU) al-Habib al-Maliki.



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