Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)
Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Asian aims

Reem Leila sheds light on President Al-Sisi’s Asian tour, which started this week

Al-Ahram Weekly

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi held an emergency meeting with the cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, on 26 October after seven people died a day earlier in Alexandria from heavy rains that lashed Egypt’s coastal city.

The Alexandria governor resigned after failing to contain the emergency caused by the rains, which lasted for nine hours. During the meeting, Al-Sisi stressed that the performance of the government in dealing with crises should witness a qualitative leap in the coming stage.

After the meeting, the president started a three-nation tour to the United Arab of Emirates, Bahrain and India. The president’s tour was within the context of continuous joint consultations and coordination, starting with the UAE.

Official presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said the talks in the UAE were to focus on strengthening current “distinguished” bilateral relations to boost the existing strategic cooperation in light of challenges facing the region.

“This is in addition to discussing risks to national security of Arab countries, especially amidst spreading terrorism and extremist ideology,” Youssef said.

The official spokesman said that Syria and Russian intervention in the conflict is likely to top the president’s agenda. Youssef said the visit was “extremely important” for both countries and comes at a sensitive time, given the developments and challenges currently facing the Arab world.

“Confronting challenges that pose a significant risk to the whole region requires more cooperation from both the Egyptian and UAE sides,” he said.

Immediately following his visit to the UAE, Al-Sisi is scheduled to head to India to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit, during which he will stress Egypt’s keenness on boosting ties with India.

Youssef said Al-Sisi appreciates the historical bilateral relations between the two countries and added that Egypt and India want to develop this relationship. During Al-Sisi’s visit to India he will meet his counterpart, President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a number of other senior Indian officials.

Al-Sisi will also attend a meeting with a large group of Indian businessman who are interested in increasing their investments in Egypt.

The India-Africa Forum Summit is considered the biggest diplomatic event to be hosted by India in the last three decades. The four-day congregation includes the participation of 54 countries. The forum is part of India’s efforts to strengthen historical ties with the resource-rich African continent.

“While attending the summit, Al-Sisi will discuss means of boosting economic cooperation between both countries and increasing investment in Egypt, especially in the new Suez Canal,” Youssef said.

Last month, Al-Sisi and Modi met for the first time at the United Nations where they discussed how the Suez Canal could provide investment opportunities to India. The new 72-kilometre canal, which was inaugurated in August, will speed up traffic along the existing waterway by reducing the waiting period of vessels and is expected to boosting Egypt’s canal revenues.

Trade between India and Egypt in the 2014-2015 financial year reached $4.76 billion. India’s imports from Egypt were worth $1.74 billion while Indian exports to Egypt were $3.02 billion. India is Egypt’s sixth-largest trading partner and the second-largest export destination.

Out of the 50 Indian companies operating in Egypt, with a combined investment of almost $3 billion, approximately half are joint ventures and wholly owned Indian subsidiaries.

On the summit’s sidelines, Al-Sisi will also meet a number of African leaders to discuss maintaining peace and security of the continent.

On Al-Sisi’s way back home, he will stop in Bahrain, the last station of his tour, where he will meet King Hamad bin Eissa Al-Khalifa. During the visit, Al-Sisi will discuss with Hamad possible means of deepening already solid relations. Both leaders will follow up on existing coordination between them to face the current regional challenges.

Youssef said the two leaders will discuss means of exerting “utmost efforts” to realise the best interests of the Arab and Muslim worlds, realise the dream of integration and solidarity and promote joint Arab action.

“Both leaders will also discuss efforts to disseminate the moderate and true nature of Islam, which renounces violence, extremism and terrorism, and rectify the distorted image of Islam that mistakenly associates it with terrorism and violence,” Youssef added.

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