x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

UAE offers $5 billion in support for Egypt

The UAE pledged nearly Dh18.4bn in support to Egypt on Saturday, part of which is new money to guarantee fuel supplies and fund projects in health care, education, food, housing and transport.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, UAE National Security Advisor, meet with Dr Hazem El Beblawi, Prime Minister of Egypt at Emirates Palace after an agreement was signed. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, UAE National Security Advisor, meet with Dr Hazem El Beblawi, Prime Minister of Egypt at Emirates Palace after an agreement was signed. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI // The UAE pledged nearly US$5 billion (Dh18.4bn) in support to Egypt on Saturday, $4bn of which is new money to guarantee fuel supplies and fund projects in health care, education, food, housing and transport.

The deal was signed in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the Egyptian prime minister Hazem El Beblawi.

The new support adds to the $2bn interest-free loan the UAE deposited in Egypt’s central bank last July, but includes a $1bn cash grant paid at the same time.

“On behalf of the Egyptian people, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the UAE leadership, government and its people,” said Dr El Beblawi.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, who signed the agreement on behalf of the UAE, said: “The signing of this framework agreement aims to provide Egypt with the crucial support required to achieve security, stability and confidence at this transitional phase. Our leadership believes, without waver, that Egypt must resume and reclaim its central role in the Arab world.”

The new aid will fund projects including 25 grain storage units, 79 family health clinics and two vaccine production lines.

It will also pay for 50,000 new homes, 13,000 of which are already under construction, renewable energy and sewage projects in rural villages, 100 new schools and 600 buses.

Dr El Beblawi also met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday.

Sheikh Mohammed assured him that the UAE leadership and government supported Egypt, its people and its new political leadership, and doing so at this time was a service from the entire Arab world.

He recalled the view of Sheikh Zayed, founder of the nation, in the 1980s, when he insisted that Egypt should return to its position as the heart of the Arab world.

Mr El Beblawi thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his support. He said the domestic situation in Egypt was back to normal and in the process of recovery and stability.

Egypt’s deputy prime minister, Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, also thanked the UAE for its support. “We are grateful because that assistance came within the context of implementing the economic programme laid down by the government to improve living conditions,” he said.

Egyptians in the UAE said the support was much appreciated. “It’s fantastic that the UAE supports Egypt,” said Andrew Haroun, an Egyptian resident who was born and raised in Dubai.

“Egypt needed help and the UAE was here. A lot of people say the direction in which Egypt goes has a lot of impact on the region but, still, everybody is extremely grateful for the support they’re getting.”

The state news agency, Wam, and Egypt’s Middle East news agency, Mena, have also discussed ways to boost cooperation.

The National Media Council’s director general, Ibrahim Al Abed, and Mena’s managing editor, Ezzat Shaaban, discussed ways the agencies could benefit from each other with news exchange, photos and human resources training.

Mr Al Abed also met Mansour Kamel, the chairman of news at Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, and discussed cooperation.

A preparatory workshop for the GCC-Egyptian Economic Forum, expected to be held in Cairo in December, was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday.

The workshop, attended by representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and the General Secretariat of the GCC, aimed to support the Egyptian government with more GCC investments.

cmalek@thenational.ae