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Egypt and UAE leaders discuss bilateral ties, Arab solidarity in Cairo

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) receiving the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan at the presidential palace in Cairo on April 12, 2023.   -  
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Twitter @MohamedBinZayed


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday (Apr. 12) greeted his Emirati counterpart at the Cairo International Airport.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan was accompanied by a delegation comprising the UAE's Vice president and several ministers.

The Emirati leader tweeted that he and the Egyptian president "explored opportunities to further strengthen the deep-rooted ties between" their countries.

Adding they "discussed" a "shared interest in promoting regional stability and progress".

Last year, the two nations celebrated 50 years of bilateral relations and the official visit comes at a time when Egypt struggles to overcome a staggering economic crisis.

The United Arab Emirates and other Arab Gulf states have been the main suppliers of aid to the Egyptian government.

Cairo's foreign reserves fell by about 20 percent in one year to $34.45 billion -- about $28 billion of which are deposits from wealthy Gulf donors.

El-Sissi has relied on handouts from Gulf Arab states to keep his country’s economy afloat since seizing power in 2013. Estimates suggest over $100 billion in Gulf money has gone to Cairo via Central Bank deposits, fuel aid and other support since then.

But in recent weeks, Gulf Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, have begun signalling that they want to see more reforms from countries receiving their aid 

"We used to give direct grants and deposits without strings attached and we are changing that," Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. "We need to see reforms. We are taxing our people. We are expecting also others to do the same, to do their efforts. We want to help but we want you also to do your part."

 That likely would affect Egypt, which already is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to reform.

Regional diplomacy

Earlier this month, Sisi visited Saudi Arabia where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Cairo also serves as the headquarters of the Arab League and on April 1 welcomed Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, who on Wednesday (Apr. 12) was in Saudi Arabia for the first time since his country's civil war broke out.

The visits are part of efforts, largely spearheaded by the UAE, to bring Syria back into the Arab fold. A meeting is due to be held in Jeddah on Friday to discuss allowing President Bashar Al-Assad's Syrian government to attend an Arab League summit next month.

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