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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Egypt’s clear importance to the region

Donald Trump understands how a strong Cairo translate to a strong Middle East
Donald J. Trump  meets with Abdel Fattah El Sisi of Egypt in the Oval Office of White House. Olivier Douliery / EPA
Donald J. Trump meets with Abdel Fattah El Sisi of Egypt in the Oval Office of White House. Olivier Douliery / EPA

As the most populous country in the Arab world, what happens in Egypt in the realm of politics, culture and society greatly influences the Middle East. The Arab uprisings of 2011, for example, will be forever linked to Egypt and the events that happened in Cairo and Alexandria. Indeed, the rise of Abdel Fattah El Sisi and the return of stability also carry great symbolism.

The UAE has recognised a simple and undisputable fact: a strong Egypt means a strong Middle East. That is why the leadership has entrenched firm relations with Mr El Sisi’s government through trade deals, joint military exercises and aid packages. We have stood side-by-side with Mr El Sisi as he returned the country to stability and will continue to help Egypt grow and prosper.

UAE companies are building infrastructure and housing to help Egypt modernise. Through aid packages, we are helping to address social problems and open the country to international investment. Such a transformation will create jobs and allow the government to address the core issues of the revolution such as rampant unemployment.

Given our close relationship with Egypt, it is encouraging to see our allies take a similarly warm tone with Mr El Sisi’s government. On his first official visit to Washington to meet United States president Donald Trump, Mr El Sisi noted that he was the first Egyptian leader to visit the White House in eight years. Mr Trump underlined Egypt’s role in fighting extremism and establishing stability across the Middle East. “We are very much behind President Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt,” Mr Trump said in the Oval Office sitting next to the Egyptian president.

With Jordan’s King Abdullah in Washington today for his second state visit under the new administration, it is clear that a reset has taken place vis-a-vis American foreign policy in the region. After eight years of intransigence between the administration of Barack Obama and Arab leaders, Mr Trump has signalled that the US will back its traditional Sunni allies as the fight intensifies against extremism in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Given Iran’s continued meddling in these countries, our alliance with America is critical to our shared efforts to end the political chaos that has engulfed this part of the world.

Updated: April 4, 2017 04:00 AM

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