UAE says Egypt is ‘cornerstone’ of regional security, praises economic ties

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The UAE and Egypt are working closely together to promote tolerance and combat extremism in the region, UAE Ambassador to Egypt Juma Aljunaibi told Al Arabiya English, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Politically, the UAE and Egypt face the same direction in addressing many of our region’s complex dynamics, particularly in efforts to promote tolerant societies and the fight against extremism,” said Ambassador Aljunaibi in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

The ambassador pointed to Egypt’s support for the UAE’s efforts to promote toleration – including the signing of the declaration on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” this year – as evidence of Cairo’s anti-terrorist efforts.

The interview with Ambassador Aljunaibi came during President al-Sisi’s official state visit to the UAE in which the Egyptian leader held meetings with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The ambassador also said that the UAE and Egypt were strategic partners and highlighted the importance of Egypt’s security to the region.

“The security and stability of Egypt is considered the cornerstone of the security and stability of our region,” said Ambassador Aljunaibi, adding that Egypt is also a “valuable partner to the UAE in confronting regional challenges to security and stability.”

Egypt and the UAE have a long history of military cooperation. On November 2, 2019, the two countries concluded a month of joint military drills under the title “Night Eagles.”

Egypt’s President al-Sisi has repeatedly voiced his support for the Arab Gulf States.

“We stand by our brothers in the Gulf wholeheartedly and if Gulf security is directly threatened by anyone, the Egyptian people, even before their leadership, will not accept that and will mobilize forces to protect their brethren,” he said last year.

The UAE and Egypt launched on Thursday a $20 billion joint strategic investment platform, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said on his official Twitter account.

Sheikh Mohammed said the idea behind the platform is to “implement vital economic and social projects for our brotherly countries.”

Economically, Egypt is a strategic partner for the UAE, a key destination for Emirati tourists, and an attractive investment destination for Emirati investors, said Ambassador Aljunaibi.

In March 2019, Egypt and the UAE inked memorandums of understanding (MoU) to focus on ensuring integrated management of water resources, and to address cooperation in the this field.

Egypt has also received high levels of foreign aid from the UAE. In 2014, Egypt enjoyed the equivalent of approximately 52 percent of the UAE’s foreign aid.

“The UAE is solely concerned with boosting the prosperity of Egypt and its people through aid and development assistance,” Ambassador Aljunaibi said. “It’s not just about helping people; it’s about helping develop Egypt’s economy to achieve a positive impact on the region as a whole.”

Al Arabiya English has compiled five key takeaways from the exclusive interview with the UAE ambassador to Egypt.

1) In 2018, more than 63,500 Emirati citizens visited Egypt for tourism. “That year, over 482,000 Egyptians traveled to the UAE for tourism,” said Ambassador Aljunaibi.

2) There are currently 142 direct flights that take place on a weekly basis between the UAE and Egypt.

3) The UAE is considered the top foreign investor in Egypt.

4) Egypt is also the UAE’s top trade partner in Africa, the ambassador said.

5) UAE investments in Egypt, which earlier this year reached $5.9 billion over the past four years, are proceeding across multiple investment sectors and are expected to grow.

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