Ties with Egypt ‘at their best’

Egypt’s positions on Syria and Yemen are some of the issues political analysts believe the country’s president will discuss during his visit to the UAE on Tuesday.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, meeting the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Abu Dhabi in January. Wam
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, meeting the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Abu Dhabi in January. Wam

ABU DHABI // Egypt’s positions on Syria and Yemen are some of the issues political analysts believe the country’s president will discuss during his visit to the UAE on Tuesday.

Abdel Fattah El Sisi will start a tour in Abu Dhabi before heading to India and Bahrain, a spokesman for the president said on Saturday, to discuss ways to confront risks to the region, especially terrorism and extremist ideology.

The visit comes at a time when the relationship between the UAE and Egypt is stronger than ever, analysts said.

“I think it is going from good to better and it is now at its best,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, political science professor at UAE University. “Cairo and Abu Dhabi see eye-to-eye on almost all issues and I think the UAE has proven that it is solidly behind Egypt and it will stay that way.”

Syria is likely to top the agenda, he said, as well as Russian intervention in the conflict there.

“I think this is an occasion for the Egyptian president to come to the UAE to explain the real Egyptian position when it comes to Syria,” Prof Abdulla said. “There is a bit of uncertainty as to where Egypt stands. This is the time to discuss it frankly.”

Egypt’s participation in the Yemeni conflict, in which the UAE is playing a role, also needed to be discussed, he said.

“It is an issue that needs to be hammered out,” Prof Abdulla said.

“These are issues that probably deserve some talk and they need to engage in a frank talk.”

Sabahat Khan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, a think tank in Dubai, said Mr El Sisi’s visit was a big step forward.

“There has been a process of very high-level engagement between the UAE and Egyptian governments for some time now,” he said. “So the visit should be viewed in the context of that process and being able to adjust to the rapidly-changing environment from a security and economic point of view.”

The Muslim Brotherhood may also be a topic of discussion, said Dr Firuz Yasamis, head of diplomacy at the American University in the Emirates.

“After Morsi, the relationship between the UAE and Egypt attained a different format,” he said, referring to former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

Morsi’s role in the organisation, to which the UAE and other countries are strongly opposed, had been a “direct threat to the economy, security and stability” in the region, he said.

Arabian Gulf countries support Mr El Sisi’s success, Dr Yasamis said, while Egypt needs financial support, so another issue might be financial assistance.

Egypt was the largest recipient of UAE foreign aid in 2013, according to a report released in February. The Government provided Egypt with nearly Dh17 billion for developmental projects and charitable assistance.

“These discussions will take place under the format of strengthening collaboration for regional security,” said Dr Yasamis.

cmalek@thenational.ae

Published: October 25, 2015 04:00 AM

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