Foreign relations of Egypt
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Egypt's foreign policy operates along a non-aligned level. Factors such as population size, historical events, military strength, diplomatic expertise and a strategic geographical position give Egypt extensive political influence in the Middle East, Africa, and within the Non-Aligned Movement as a whole. Cairo has been a crossroads of Arab commerce and culture for millennia, and its intellectual and Islamic institutions are at the center of the region's social and cultural landmark palace.
- 1 Middle East and North Africa
- 2 Europe
- 3 Americas
- 4 Rest of world
- 5 International involvement
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Middle East and North Africa
The Arab League headquarters is in Cairo, and the Secretary General of the League is traditionally an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Araby is the present Secretary General of the Arab League. Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.
Egypt is on good terms with Libya, its western neighbor.
Egypt has fairly good relations with Sudan, its southern neighbor, although it has a land dispute with Sudan over the Hala'ib Triangle, a small area of land on the Egypt-Sudan border on the Red Sea coast. Sudan claims the area. Egypt's policy on Sudan is that it is in favor of a united Sudan. As such Egypt was not directly involved in the Sudan Peace Process that was hosted in Kenya under the auspices of IGAD and that gave the peoples of south Sudan the right to secede and form an independent state in 2011 after the long and brutal Sudanese civil war that cumulatively lasted more than 40 years and claimed over 2 million lives. In ancient times Egypt also had strong trading with Punt.They traded cloth, grain, copper, papyrus, and gems for items such as myrrh, ebony, ivory, and wild animals.
Egypt has been seeking to play a role in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Egypt played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Madrid Conference of 1991, which, under United States and Soviet sponsorship, brought together all parties in the region, including for the first time a Palestinian delegation, to discuss Middle East peace.
This support has continued to the present, with President Hosni Mubarak often intervening personally to promote peace negotiations. In 1996, he hosted the Sharm El-Sheikh "Summit of the Peacemakers" attended by President Bill Clinton and other world leaders.
In 2000, he hosted two summits at Sharm El-Sheikh and one at Taba in an effort to resume the Camp David negotiations suspended in July 2000, and in June 2003, Mubarak hosted President George W. Bush for another summit on Middle East peace process. Another summit was convened in Sharm El Sheik in early 2005, which was attended by Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The Egyptian Chief of Intelligence, General Omar Suleiman, has played a substantial role in negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides and is highly respected on both sides.
Relations with Africa
In the 21st-century Egypt has encountered a major problem with immigration, as millions of Africans attempt to enter Egypt fleeing poverty and war. Border control methods can be "harsh, sometimes lethal." This has strained relations with Egypt's southern neighbors, and with Israel and the members of the EU as these immigrants attempt to move on to wealthier countries.
Egypt currently disputes sovereignty of the Hala'ib Triangle with Sudan, an area of land located on the Red Sea coast, between the political borders (at the 22nd circle of latitude) and the administrative boundary between the two countries.
After the neighboring countries of Egypt and Libya both gained independence in the early 1950s, relations were initially cooperative. Libya assisted Egypt in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Later, tensions arose due to Egypt's rapprochement with the west. Following the 1977 Libyan–Egyptian War, relations were suspended for twelve years. However, since 1989 relations have steadily improved. With the progressive lifting of UN and US sanctions from 2003–2008, the two countries have been working together to jointly develop their oil and natural gas industries.
In 1939, diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran were upgraded to ambassadorial level, and Youssef Zulficar Pasha was appointed as Egypt's first ambassador in Tehran. In the same year, Princess Fawzia of Egypt, the sister of King Farouk I, married Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the then crown prince (later shah) of Iran. However, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Egypt's relations with Iran have been mostly strained. Egypt is the only Arab country not to have an embassy in Iran. Contentious issues include Egypt's signing of the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1979, its support for Iraq in Iran's eight-year conflict, the Islamic Republic's hailing of Khalid Islambouli, the late President Anwar Sadat's assassin as a religious hero, seeing as there was both a street and mural named after him (however, the honorer was changed to Muhammad al-Durrah, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy shot and killed during the outset of the Second Intifada), and close Egyptian relations with the United States, and most of the Western European countries. In 2007, relations between the two have thawed in the fields of diplomacy and economic trade, only to collapse during the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict when the Iranian and Egyptian politicians exchanged blames over inaction towards the escalation. Despite wavering tensions between Tehran and Cairo, the two countries are members of the OIC and the Developing 8
In 2010, leaked diplomatic cables revealed that Mubarak expressed animosity toward Iran in private meetings, saying the Iranian leaders are "big, fat liars", and that Iran's backing of terrorism is "well-known". According to one American report, Mubarak views Iran as the primary long-term challenge facing Egypt, and an Egyptian official said that Iran is running agents inside Egypt in an effort to subvert the Egyptian regime. he also stated that if Iran will reach a nuclear weapons, Egypt will also consider reaching such weapons.
Since 1983, Iraq has repeatedly called for restoration of Egypt’s “natural role” among Arab countries. In January 1984, Iraq successfully led Arab efforts within the OIC to restore Egypt’s membership. However, Iraqi-Egyptian relations were broken in 1990 after Egypt joined the UN coalition that forced Iraq out of Kuwait. Relations have steadily improved in recent years, and Egypt is now one of Iraq’s main trade partners (formerly under the Oil-for-Food Programme).
The state of war between both countries which dated back from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War ended in 1979 with the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty a year after the Camp David Accords. Since then, relations have improved. Egypt has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a general consulate in Eilat. Israel has an embassy in Cairo and a general consulate in Alexandria.
Being a pioneer of peace making in the region and driven from its belief that a peaceful Middle East is the best solution for the development of Egypt, the third Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's groundbreaking trip to Israel in 1977, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty represented a fundamental shift in the politics of the region; from a strategy of confrontation to one of peace as a strategic choice. Egypt was subsequently ostracized by other Arab states and ejected from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989.
However, due to circumstances of today's Israeli-Palestinian conflict, full normalization of relations between these two countries is still halted and sometimes fought against in both countries. The Egyptian ambassador to Tel Aviv is often withdrawn, and the peace has been called a cool peace due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Diplomatic relations between the Egyptian and Jordanian government existed since Jordan became independent in 1946. On April 6, 1972 the Egyptian government severed relations in protest for a Jordanian plan for federation with the West Bank, which didn't take PLO interests unto considerations. These relations were restored on September 11, 1973. They were severed again in 1979, this time by the Jordanian government, in protest for the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Following the outbreak of the Lebanon War of 1982, the US government put pressure on both governments to reach accommodation for the purpose of formulating a joint peace strategy vis-a-vis the Israeli government, and relations were restored on September 25, 1984.
Since independence, the two nations have maintained warm relations. Both being predominantly Arab countries they are members of the Arab League, GAFTA, WTO, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Council of Arab Economic Unity and the United Nations.
Egypt and Sudan have enjoyed intimate and longstanding historical ties, seeing as they are each other's closest allies in the North African region. The two countries are connected by various cultural ties, and political aspirations.Sudan showed great solidarity with Egypt in its Camp David peace initiatives with Israel in the late 1970s. In 2008, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif urged the two countries to focus on two specific projects: the Aljazera project which aims to cultivate some two million acres (8,000 km²) of land in Sudan, and a joint project to improve food security in agricultural and meat production.
European Union relations with Egypt are based on a partnership relation within the Euro – Mediterranean and Middle East area, which is of vital strategic importance and a key external relations priority for the EU.
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched at the 1995 Barcelona Conference between the European Union and its originally 12 Mediterranean Partners: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the Palestinian Authority. Libya currently has observer status at certain meetings. Since the enlargement, in May 2004 and January 2007, the co-operation covers 35 countries, the EU of 27, including Cyprus and Malta and the 10 Mediterranean Partners.
Egypt has also taken an active role regarding Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, such as its participation in the technical meeting of which it was the speaker for the Arab group. Additionally, the first meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary assembly was co-chaired by an Egyptian.
Egypt has been one of the leading recipients among the Mediterranean partners in terms of total funds received from the MEDA programme, the principal financial instrument of the European Union for the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. It is focused on policy-led, national structural reform and liberalisation programmes with a sector-wide approach.
The EU is Egypt’s biggest trading partner currently accounting for 42% of Egyptian exports and 37% of imports, with the balance of trade still in the EU's favour. Trade between the EU and Egypt has risen by more than 5% in the last five years to reach around 11.6 billion euro in 2004. Egypt’s main exports to the EU in 2004 were energy (39%), textiles and clothing (15%), agricultural products (9%), and chemicals (5%). Major imports from the EU were power generating machinery (21%), chemicals (16%), transport equipment (16%), and food and agricultural products (10%). Egypt has a serious but improving trade deficit that has put considerable pressure on the Egyptian pound.
Trade relations with the EU are good although there are several outstanding trade and phyto-sanitary issues. These range from specific market access issues and difficulties for businesses facing a highly regulated and complex system through to restrictions in the export of agricultural goods (potatoes) and fishery products because they do not conform with EU quality norms.
Other European countries
|Country||Formal relations established||Notes|
|Austria||See Foreign relations of Austria|
|Bulgaria||See Bulgaria–Egypt relations|
|Croatia||See Croatia–Egypt relations|
|Cyprus||See Cyprus–Egypt relations
During an April 2009 meeting at ministerial level, the countries explored ways to develop closer ties, with plans for increased collaboration both on tourism and energy related activities. There has been talk of Cyprus increasing her imports of natural gas, Egypt using Cyprus as a bridge for exports to Europe and on prospects for the training of Cypriot engineers by their Egyptian counterparts on techniques for the extraction of oil and natural gas.
|Denmark||See Denmark–Egypt relations|
|Germany||1957-12||See Egypt–Germany relations|
Both countries share relations since the years BC Since the creation of Alexandria by Alexander the Great, Egypt has had a sizable Greek community, mostly centered around Alexandria, which is today Egypt's second largest city and also the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. In the modern era, both countries enjoy very good and warm diplomatic relations since 1833 and especially after the Greek War Independence, and both countries have signed several defense cooperation agreements, with the heads of states visiting each other in a regular basis.
Relations were established during the period of the Roman Empire. However during World War II, relations were strained as the Italian and German Troops launched a campaign on Egypt but were defeated by Egyptian and British Forces in the battle of El Alamein. However, after the war, relations were re-established and are close. Egypt has an embassy in Rome and a consulate general in Milan, while Italy has an embassy in Cairo and a consulate general in Alexandria. Also, the two nations are members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
See also Italian Egyptian
|Russia||1943-08-26||See Egypt–Russia relations|
|Slovenia||See Egypt–Slovenia relations|
|Turkey||1925||See Egyptian–Turkish relations
From the time of the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517 until the seizure of power by Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1805, Egypt was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (with brief interruptions owing to native rebellions, and the French invasion of 1798). The seat of the Caliphate in Istanbul and the seat of culture in Cairo. Turkey established diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1925 at the level of Charge d’ Affaires and upgraded its mission in Cairo to Ambassadorial level in 1948. Both countries have embassies and consulate generals in each other's capitals. Both countries have signed a free trade agreement in December 2005. Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
- Argentina has an embassy in Cairo
- Egypt has an embassy in Buenos Aires.
- List of Treaties ruling relations Argentina and Egypt (Argentine Foreign Ministry, in Spanish)
- Egyptian-Argentinean relations - From the Egypt State Information Service
After the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Egyptian foreign policy began to shift as a result of the change in Egypt's leadership from President Gamal Abdel-Nasser to Anwar Sadat and the emerging peace process between Egypt and Israel. Sadat realized that reaching a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a precondition for Egyptian development. To achieve this goal, Sadat ventured to enhance US-Egyptian relations to foster a peace process with Israel. After a seven-year hiatus, both countries reestablished normal diplomatic relations on February 28, 1974.
Following the peace treaty with Israel, between 1979 and 2003, the US has provided Egypt with about $19 billion in military aid, making Egypt the second largest non-NATO recipient of US military aid after Israel. Also, Egypt received about $30 billion in economic aid within the same time frame. In 2009, the US provided a military assistance of US$ 1.3 billion (inflation adjusted US$ 1.43 billion in 2014), and an economic assistance of US$ 250 million (inflation adjusted US$ 274.8 million in 2014). In 1989 both Egypt and Israel became a Major non-NATO ally of the United States.
Military cooperation between the US and Egypt is probably the strongest aspect of their strategic partnership. General Anthony Zinni, the former Commandant of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), once said, "Egypt is the most important country in my area of responsibility because of the access it gives me to the region." Egypt was also described during the Clinton Administration as the most prominent player in the Arab world and a key US ally in the Middle East. US military assistance to Egypt was considered part of the administration's strategy to maintaining continued availability of Persian Gulf energy resources and to secure the Suez Canal, which serves both as an important international oil route and as critical route for US warships transiting between the Mediterranean and either the Indian Ocean or the Persian Gulf.
The Egyptian military provides indirect support for the foreign policy of Egypt in the region. Egypt is the strongest military power on the African continent, and according to Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies' annual Middle East Strategic Balance, the second largest in the Middle East, after Israel.
War on Terror
Despite differences and periods of friction in relations between the two countries, the US-Egyptian relations under Mubarak have evolved moving beyond the Middle East peace process towards an independent bilateral friendship. It was in the US interest that Egypt was able to present moderate voice in Arab councils and persuade other Arab states to join the peace process and to normalize their relations with the US.
However lately Egyptian-American relations have become a little tense. This is due to a great extent to the Egyptian unwillingness to send troops to Afghanistan and Iraq in peace stabilization missions. Egypt strongly backed the US in its war against international terrorism after the September 11 attacks, but refused to send troops to Afghanistan during the war and after it. Egypt also opposed US military intervention of March 2003 in Iraq, continued to oppose US occupation of the country after the war and further refused to comply with US requests to send troops to the country even under a UN umbrella.
The issue of participation in the post-war construction efforts in Iraq has been controversial in Egypt and in the Arab world as a whole. Opponents say that the war was illegal and it is necessary to wait until Iraq has legal representative government to deal with it. On the other hand supporters of participation argued that the responsibility to protect Iraqis and to help them in time of crisis should prevail and guide the Egyptian action in Iraq, despite the fact that the Iraqis do not agree.
Post-Mubarak relations with U.S.
On January 21, 2012, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's son, Sam, was detained by the Egyptian government and not allowed to leave the country as part of a politically charged criminal investigation by the Egyptian government into the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) monitoring local elections in Egypt. LaHood's son is the Egypt director of the International Republican Institute. The Egyptian government has detained twelve NGO representatives from leaving Egypt.
On February 5, 2012, Egyptian authorities charged LaHood's son and 42 other individuals with "spending money from organizations that were operating in Egypt without a license." Nineteen Americans are part of the 42 charged. The U.S. government has made it clear that $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt could be withheld if the investigation is not finished quickly. Faiza Abu Naga, Egypt's Minister of International Cooperation, is seen as the person pushing the investigation forward, straining U.S. and Egypt relations.
- Egypt has an embassy in Montevideo.
- Uruguay has an embassy in Cairo and an honorary consulate in Alexandria.
Rest of world
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Australia||1950||See Australia–Egypt relations|
Egypt was one of the first Arab states to recognize Bangladesh's independence. President Anwar Al Sadat enjoyed a close rapport with Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In 1973, Egypt gifted 30 tanks to the Bangladesh Army.
Both nations are members of the OIC and the Developing 8 Countries, and identified among the Next Eleven economies. Present-day relations are characterized by a growing trade and economic relationship. The Cairo-based telecom giant Orascom owns Bangladesh's second largest mobile operator Banglalink.
|India||See Egypt–India relations
Modern Egypt-India relations go back to the contacts between Saad Zaghloul and Mohandas Gandhi on the common goals of their respective movements of independence. In 1955, Egypt under Gamal Abdul Nasser and India under Jawaharlal Nehru became the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. During the 1956 War, Nehru stood supporting Egypt to the point of threatening to withdraw his country from the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1967, following the Arab-Israeli war, India supported Egypt and the Arabs. In 1977, New Delhi described the visit of President Anwar al-Sadat to Jerusalem as a "brave" move and considered the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel a primary step on the path of a just settlement of the Middle East problem. Major Egyptian exports to India include raw cotton, raw and manufactured fertilizers, oil and oil products, organic and non-organic chemicals, leather and iron products. Major imports into Egypt from India are cotton yarn, sesame, coffee, herbs, tobacco and lentils. The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum is also currently negotiating the establishment of a natural gas-operated fertilizer plant with another Indian company. In 2004 the Gas Authority of India Limited, bought 15% of Egypt Nat Gas distribution and marketing company.
In 2008 Egyptian investment in India was worth some 750 million dollars, according to the Egyptian ambassador.
|Indonesia||1946||See Egypt–Indonesia relations
|Japan||See Egypt-Japan relations
Egypt-Japan relations are described by the Egyptian ambassador to Japan as a "very strong friendship", with embassies mutually established. At present, the two nations maintain a cordial relationship with strong economic and trade relations.
In 2006, President Mubarak of Egypt visited Kazakhstan on the third leg of a three-country tour. During the visit he met with Kazakh President Nazarbayev. Mubarak stated that 30 trade and economic cooperation agreements had been concluded between the two countries.
|Malaysia||1957||See Egypt–Malaysia relations|
|Mongolia||1964||See Egypt–Mongolia relations|
|Pakistan||See Egypt–Pakistan relations
Pakistan and Egypt have diplomatic and trade relations. Both countries are members of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), "the next eleven" and the "D8". Relations between the two countries were established after Pakistan was established. Pakistan President General Muhammad Ayub Khan, visited Egypt in 1959 and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser visited Pakistan in 1960.
|People's Republic of China||See Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China|
Egypt played a key role during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis. President Mubarak helped assemble the international coalition and deployed 35,000 Egyptian troops against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. The Egyptian contingent was one of the largest in the coalition forces, along with the U.S., U.K. and Saudi Arabia.
In the aftermath of the Gulf War, Egypt signed the Damascus Declaration with Syria and the Persian Gulf states to strengthen Persian Gulf security. Egypt continues to contribute regularly to United Nations peacekeeping missions, most recently in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Egypt, which has itself been the target of terrorist attacks, has been a key supporter of the U.S. war against terrorists and terrorist organizations such as Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, and has supported the Iraqi Governing Council.
On December 25, 2006, the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit called for end to "nuclear double standards" where sanctions are imposed on Iran for enriching uranium, but the Israeli nuclear program is not subject to any control by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Egypt is member of ABEDA, ACC, ACCT (associate), AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AU, BSEC (observer), CAEU, CTBT, EBRD, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS(observer), OAU, OIC, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTAET, UPU, WCO, EFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, and WTrO. Egypt is 1 of only 7 U.N. members which is not a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
- List of Foreign ministers of Egypt
- Iran-Arab Relations (Egypt)
- List of Ambassadors from Egypt
- List of diplomatic missions in Egypt
- List of diplomatic missions of Egypt
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Visa requirements for Egyptian citizens
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- US diplomatic cable on the resumption of relations
- Remarks of President Reagan, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and King Hussein I of Jordan Following Their Meetings, February 14, 1984
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- Bulgarian embassy in Cairo[dead link]
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- Irish embassy in Cairo
- Maltese representations in Egypt
- Egyptian embassy in Valletta
- Egyptian embassy in Bucharest
- Serbian embassy in Cairo
- Egyptian embassy in Bern
- Egyptian embassy in Kiev
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- Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs: direction of the Uruguayan missions to Egypt[dead link]
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- Egyptian embassy in Canberra
- Egyptian Consulate-General in Sydney
- Egypt State Information Service: Mubarak starts historic visit to India to boost strategic partnership between the two countries
- The Hindu Manmohan: time ripe for transforming ties
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- Mubarak, Nazarbayev: Need underlined for pushing peace process, developing bilateral ties
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- Egyptian embassy in Seoul
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- Egypt and Vietnam Relations Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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- History of Egypt - U.S. relations
- EU-Egyptian Relations
- Assessing the United States-Egyptian Military and Security Relations
- The Future of American-Egyptian relations
- Deniers of Egypt's dark past An article exploring Egypt's Africanness
- Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in London The official website of the Egyptian Embassy in London
- EU Neighbourhood Info Centre: Egypt