At the Cairo International Airport on Wednesday (April 12), Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met and welcomed his Emirati counterpart. A group from the United Arab Emirates that included representatives from numerous ministries and the nation’s vice president was with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan.
The leader of the Emirati government stated in a tweet that he and the president of Egypt “explored opportunities to further strengthen the deep-rooted ties between” their respective nations. The fact that they “discussed” having a “shared interest in promoting regional stability and progress” is also mentioned.
The two countries celebrated 50 years of bilateral relations in 2018, and the official visit comes at a time when Egypt is working hard to overcome a monumental economic crisis. The government of Egypt has received the majority of its financial assistance from the United Arab Emirates and other states located in the Arab Gulf.
In just one year, Cairo’s foreign reserves dropped by around 20 percent to a total of $34.45 billion; approximately 28 billion of this total is comprised of donations from affluent Gulf donors. Since he came to office in 2013, El-Sissi has kept his country’s economy afloat by accepting assistance from the Arab governments that are located in the Gulf. Since then, it is estimated that more than one hundred billion dollars in Gulf money has been sent to Cairo through deposits in the Central Bank, fuel aid, and other forms of support.
But in the past several weeks, Gulf Arab governments like Saudi Arabia have started sending signals that they want to see greater reforms from countries that are receiving their help. “We used to give direct grants and deposits without any strings attached, and we are changing that,” Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. “We are changing that.” “Reforms are something that is needed. We are levying taxes on our population. We are anticipating that others will also participate in the activity and contribute their efforts. We want to be of assistance, but we also need you to play your role. Egypt, which is already dealing with the International Monetary Fund’s pressure to reform, would almost certainly feel the effects of this.“
Sisi made a trip to Saudi Arabia at the beginning of this month, during which he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
On April 1, Cairo, which also serves as the headquarters of the Arab League, received Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, who, on April 12, was in Saudi Arabia for the first time since the beginning of the civil war in his country. Cairo also serves as the headquarters of the Arab League.
The visits are part of a campaign to bring Syria back into the fold of Arab nations, which is being led in part by the UAE. A conference to consider whether to allow President Bashar Al-Assad’s government of Syria to take part in the upcoming Arab League summit will take place on Friday in Jeddah.