CAIRO – 24 January 2021: Today marks the 221st anniversary of the signing of El-Arish Agreement between General Kleber and the Ottomans regarding the evacuation of the French from Egypt. The agreement was signed on January 24, 1800, ending a siege that lasted 11 days. This treaty sought to end Britain's control of trade routes in the eastern Mediterranean.
According to the book "The Ottoman State: Factors of Revival and Causes of Fall (Part Two)" written by Ali Mohammad Al-Salabi, after the departure of General Napoleon Bonaparte to France, and General Kleber assumed the mandate of the French campaign in Egypt, the latter opened contacts with the Ottoman Sultan, asking him to negotiate the exit.
The negotiations took place in El-Arish and stipulated: The French must evacuate from Egypt with all their weapons and equipment, and return to France, with the agreement on a truce for a lengthy period during which the campaign will be transferred, and obtaining a pledge from the Ottoman Sultan and his allies "Russia, Britain" not to inflict harm to the departing French army.
However, it was the British government that rejected the agreement and started blocking it, as it was afraid that the French army, besieged in Egypt, would return to the battlefields in Europe.
Whereas it was believed, in light of the letters of French officers and soldiers to their families in France, which were found by the men of the British Navy, that the French campaign was proceeding slowly inside Egyptian territory; hence the London government preferred that the French remain in Egypt or surrender themselves as prisoners of war.
Therefore, on December 15, 1799, it issued direct orders to Lord Keith, Commander-in-Chief of the British Fleet in the Mediterranean, to reject any agreement or treaty regarding the evacuation from Egypt, as long as the agreement does not stipulate the necessity for the French to surrender themselves as prisoners of war absolutely and unconditionally.