"The United Arab Emirates and Egypt; one heart" is the slogan under which the North African and Persian Arab territories are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic relations in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The event, which will be attended by ministers, officials and leading business, intellectual and professional figures from both countries, takes place from 26-28 October and will include an economic and cultural forum.
"Today we celebrate 50 years of the establishment of Emirati-Egyptian relations," Minister of State at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar told WAM news agency, "[ties] whose foundations were laid by the founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, with whom Egypt had strong diplomatic and strategic links".
مصر في ذاكرتنا هي قصة الإخاء والتلاحم، بدأها زايد الخير، ولا زالت منذ 50 عاما تملأ القلوب محبة وفخرا. مصر والإمارات قصة المواقف المشرفة والثقة والتعاون المثمر، ومصير مشترك مرتبط بعروبتنا منذ الأزل. نحتفل اليوم بما حققناه معا ونمضي نحو مستقبل مشرق لتبقى مصر والإمارات على قلب واحد. pic.twitter.com/Mq5Va7LAuK— Maktoum Bin Mohammed (@MaktoumMohammed) October 26, 2022
Thus, according to Emirati President Mohammed bin Zayed's diplomatic adviser, Anwar Gargash, the Egyptian-Emirati golden wedding anniversary "demonstrates the strength of historical relations between two brotherly peoples [...] united by coordination and mutual consultation on political and diplomatic issues". A statement in line with that of Mohamed Abdullah Al-Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs: "these strong ties [...] have been woven into a model that integrates all fields and all levels of cooperation".
The summit will take place "in more than 20 sessions that will bring together Egyptian and UAE government ministers, economic, cultural, media and private sector officials," Al-Gergawi said, noting that the event's agenda would open with a recorded message from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. "We are proud of the relationship that began with Sheikh Zayed, author of the famous phrase 'Arab petrol is not more valuable than Arab blood'", the Egyptian leader said. "The relationship is unique and is also based on understanding the current situation in the Mena region and strengthening mutual interests."
In addition, the celebration also featured a speech by Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. "The UAE strongly supported Egypt during the 2013 revolution and [...] President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi," the Arab organisation's leader said, referring to the Egyptian uprising that brought an end to Hosni Mubarak's rule. "[Now], Egypt and the UAE have special relations, and the Arab League is the main beneficiary of any positive relationship between its members."
Aboul Gheit underlined the important role of the international organisation "not only for political action, but as a broad and long-standing system that also covers economic and social aspects, and includes activities in all fields". In this sense, the Secretary General highlighted the upcoming summit of the League "which will be held in Algeria in the coming days, and which [he hopes] will be a summit for the reunification of all Arab countries".
The UAE's Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Mohamed Ahmed Al-Bowardi, emphasised that relations between Cairo and Abu Dhabi can be taken as "a model for relations between Arab countries".
قال الدكتور محمد عبدالله القرقاوي، وزير شؤون مجلس الوزراء بدولة الإمارات العربية، إن علاقة الإخوة الصادقة بين مصر والإمارات يندر ما تجد مثلها بين الشعوب.."مصر هي التاريخ والأمل في غد أفضل ، pic.twitter.com/kXbGjxksNc— UAE Embassy - Cairo (@UAEembCairo) October 26, 2022
On the economic front, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi highlighted the growth of economic and trade relations between the two countries, especially in the volume of mutual investments. "In the first five months of 2022, non-oil foreign trade between the two nations exceeded 14.1 billion Emirati dirhams, an increase of six per cent over the same period in 2021," Al-Zeyoudi said. "The UAE is the number one country in foreign direct investments, accounting for 29 per cent of foreign investments in Egypt."
The history of Egyptian-Emirati diplomatic relations dates back to the birth of the Persian Gulf country in 1971, when the territory gained independence from the British crown and was recognised by the Cairo government. Since then, exchanges of diplomats, politicians and professionals in many other sectors - such as engineering, urban planning, communications and sports - have progressively strengthened the ties between the two countries.
Today, Egypt has an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate general in Dubai, and the UAE has an embassy in Cairo. Moreover, Emirati support for Egypt's 2013 coup, the gift of several cargo ships carrying one million tonnes of wheat by Emirati President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and the friendly ties between the political leaders of the two countries have made the UAE one of Egypt's closest allies.