President al-Sisi meeting German companies Presidency - Press photo President al-Sisi meeting German companies Presidency - Press photo

Sisi’s 2018: 12 foreign trips in 12 months

Fri, Dec. 28, 2018
CAIRO – 28 December 2018: Throughout 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has flown off to many countries worldwide with the aim of strengthen ties with allies, building new relationships and increasing cooperations between Egypt and other nations; all of which aim to develop the Egyptian state further and lead to prosperity.

Three days away from turning a new page, Egypt Today looks at the busy year that the Egyptian has had and the effects of his international visits.

The Gulf Trip

Carrying the clear message, ‘Gulf’s security is Egyptian security’, Sisi’s two-day visit to Oman and Abu Dhabi, UAE, took off on February 2018.

Sisi started his visit to Oman and Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2018, which is Sisi’s first official visit to Oman since he took the power in 2014 and the first Egyptian presidential to visit to the country since January 25 revolution, confirming that Sisi seeks to promote the region’s security.

Professor of Political Science at the American University of Cairo Tarek Fahmy told Egypt Today that the visit carries a message about how Egypt will not allow Arab Gulf’s security to be compromised. He added that Egypt aims to benefit from the existing economic expertise in the Sultanate of Oman, to ensure economic coordination between the two states by establishing an economic zone, attracting new investments and enhancing tourism cooperation.

Furthermore, Specialist in Gulf Affairs Ayman Ramadan remarked that the visit assures Egyptian connection with Gulf States and Egyptian-Gulf relations in the current period, adding that Oman is one of the states in the Gulf cooperation council; hence, Egypt is working to form ties with it to understand its opinions on many different regional issues.

Ramadan added that Sisi’s visit aims to promote common cooperation and to discuss the recent developments in the Qatari crisis and the many different political challenges in the region. Consequently, he remarked, a complete plan should be set in progress to combat terrorism and Iranian intervention in the Arab region.

He pointed out that Egypt looks forward to exchanging trade, increasing Egyptian exports to Oman and activating economic agreements with it.

Talks between the two leaders addressed economic cooperation and trade deals through the mutual committee, which will hold a meeting in Muscat soon. It also tackled the recent issues in the region, where Sultan Qaboos reviewed his vision on solving the Yemeni crisis in a way that can ease the suffering of Yemeni people. The two leaders also discussed other regional issues in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

The Egyptian president and his accompanying delegation will meet a number of Omani businessmen and investors to discuss increasing cooperation in different economic sectors, the official spokesperson of Egyptian Presidency, Bassam Radi, said.

The economic relationship and cooperation between the two countries comes as a part of the Great Arab Trade Agreement.

The Greater Arab Free Trade Area is an economic alliance between the Arab States for economic integration and low tariffs trade and began operation from the beginning of 2005.

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Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in farewell of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi after a 2-day visit to UAE - Press photo/Official Twitter account of HH Mohamed bin Zayed

Visiting Saudi Arabia

Upon receiving an invitation from King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President Sisi visited Saudi Arabia on August 14, 2018, to discuss key mutual points of interest in the presence of the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egypt’s Head of the General Intelligence Abbas Kamel.

The fruitful meeting saw Sisi and the King exchange views regarding the latest regional developments, including the Palestinian situation, issues of common interest and economic relations.

“King Salman held a lunch banquet in honor of the President,” according to the State Information Service.

In November 2018, Saudi Ambassador to Cairo Osama Naqli said in a statement published on the Saudi Embassy's official Facebook account that Sisi’s era witnessed a huge boost in cooperation between Egypt and KSA, a boost expected to include more regional topics in the future.

"The Saudi-Egyptian relations witnessed an unprecedented boom during the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in all political, economic, and cultural fields," the Saudi ambassador said.

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President Abdel Fatah al Sisi during meeting with Speaker of the Saudi Shura Council Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al al Sheikh and his accompanying delegation - Press Photo

Sisi visits Sudan twice

Sisi arrived October 25, 2018, in Khartoum, where he is set to attend the 24th summit with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir, and to sign several agreements and memoranda.

A matrix to implement joint projects is expected to be approved during the summit, according to Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo Abdel Halim Mahmoud.

During Sisi’s visit to Sudan in August, the two leaders agreed to coordinate security efforts in the Red Sea and to enhance economic and trade cooperation.

The visit will be Sisi’s sixth to Sudan since he assumed power in 2014.

A supreme committee formed to promote Egyptian-Sudanese relations will convene Oct. 22-25, and its meetings will include top officials from the two African nations, as well as the irrigations ministers.

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi arrives in Khartoum to attend summit with Sudanese counterpart and sign agreements - TV Screenshot

The committee also has political, security, consular, military, economic, transport, educational, health, agricultural, water and services components, all headed with the concerned ministers.

Most importantly, creating a positive investment environment, intermodal passenger and goods transport, including railways, river, sea, and land transportation will be discussed by the committee.

Furthermore, the enhancement and guidance of the Egyptian-Sudanese Company for Agricultural Integration will be given a major priority during the busy week.

Asia Trip: Visiting Bahrain

Sisi flew to Bahrain on August 30, 2018, as part of Asia visit which included Bahrain, China and Uzbekistan. During his time in Bahrain Sisi participated in a number of events held on Thursday in the framework of his visit to Bahrain.

An official reception ceremony was held earlier upon the arrival of the Egyptian president at the Gudaibiya Palace.

A luncheon was held in honor of the president, in which a number of ministers and senior officials of Bahrain participated, the official spokesman for the presidency, Bassam Rady, said in a statement.

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An official reception ceremony was held upon the arrival of the Egyptian president at the Gudaibiya Palace.


Sisi held talks with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and top Bahraini government officials about mutual ties and regional issues of mutual interest, Rady added.

Sisi also visited the National Museum of Bahrain, the oldest museum in the Arabian Gulf region. It includes a rare archaeological collection discovered in many archaeological sites in Bahrain. The museum is the culmination of the Kingdom's efforts to preserve the heritage and history of the country.

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Sisi, Bahrain's King discuss mutual ties, regional issues


The president also witnessed a concert held at the Bahrain National Theater, where he expressed the distinctiveness of Bahrain's civilization and culture.

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Sisi visited the National Museum of Bahrain

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Sisi visited the National Museum of Bahrain


Asia trip: Visiting China

Sisi arrived on September 1, 2018 in Beijing, a stop in his in four-day visit, which also included his participation at the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) slated for Sept. 3-4, and a bilateral summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing.

2 President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on September 1, 2018 - Press photo/Presidency


Sisi’s visit to China is “strategic”

Local and international media outlets have widely highlighted President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s recent visit to Bahrain, China and Uzbekistan.

Kuwait's Al-Siyassa newspaper described Sisi’s visit to China as “strategic”, adding that it will open up a new channel for more future cooperation between Beijing and African and Arab countries, since it is an economic power.

The president will also visit the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, also known as the Central Party School, located in Beijing, and is the higher education institution that trains officials for the ruling political party, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Both leaders will sign a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding addressing the development of joint cooperation between the two sides in a number of fields, according to the presidency’s spokesperson Bassam Radi.

Since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power, the relationship between Egypt and China has developed.

Five Egyptian-Chinese summits have been held in the last three years, which means that about one-third of all summit meetings between the two countries in history were held by Sisi’s presidency in only three years.

8 President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on September 1, 2018 - Press photo/Presidency


Asia Trip: Visiting Uzbekistan

Sisi ended his Asia trip in Uzbekistan, where he held talks with his counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in the presence of a number of ministers and top officials, on mutual cooperations, strengthening bilateral relations and topics of mutual interest.

At the end of his visit, the two presidents signed several key agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoU) on strengthening cooperations in various sectors.

Visiting Greece

Sisi arrived in Greece’s Crete Island on October 10, 2018, to take part in the sixth tripartite summit encompassing Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus to follow up on what has been achieved within the cooperation framework.

The three leaders discussed regional threats embodied in terrorism, illegal migration, and recurrent Turkish provocations attempting to violate the sovereignty of the three states by moving its naval forces near hydrocarbon exploration sites located within their territorial waters. That is in addition to holding talks on energy and hydrocarbon discoveries along with other matters of mutual interest.

The heads of the three states witnessed after the summit the signing of cooperation agreements by ministers of their countries in different economic sectors. Thereafter, they held a joint press conference.

Tsipras stated that discussions tackled the necessity of achieving stability in Libya and reaching a permanent solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza. He added that talks included cooperation in the education sector and potential Greek and Cypriot investments in Egypt’s SCzone (Suez Canal economic zone) as well as the status of Greek citizens living in Egypt.

President Sisi said that the ongoing regional developments dominated the summit. He explained that there is congruence by the three states upon the importance of coexistence concept prioritization along with violence and hatred renouncement by all parties in the Middle East and the Mediterranean to preserve the region from impending dangers.

Sisi added that the talks covered extant crisis in Palestinian territories, Libya, and Syria among others clarifying that the three countries perceive political settlements as key to stop the bloodshed, and undertake reconstruction.

“That eliminates chances seized by extremist and terrorist groups exploiting such crisis to prey on our states and terrorize our peoples backed by the financial, political, and logistic support provided by certain parties that do not hesitate to breach international laws and norms to create presence and influence, and to serve their narrow interests at the expense of the lives and fortunes of peaceful peoples,” the president asserted.

The president held bilateral meetings with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades before the summit to discuss regional affairs as well as opportunities for strengthening economic and trade relations.

Visiting Russia

On October 15, Sisi headed for Moscow, Russia, on a three-day visit for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. During his visit, Sisi and Putin discussed ways to boost bilateral relations and key strategic mutual interests.

The talks come as part of strategic partnership between the two countries.

Sisi also met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other senior officials on boosting economic cooperation, and was the first foreign leader to give a speech before the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia ( the Federation Council). During his speech, Sisi said, “Russia, as state and people, was always the first to give a hand to Egypt to recover the occupied land. Egypt will never forget Russia’s contribution in reconstruction and rebuilding when it helped in building the High Dam and other major projects during a pivotal period in its modern history. Those supportive historic stances will always be imprinted on the mind and spirit of Egyptians. That valuable legacy of joint cooperation will remain at a very high level of appreciation by Egyptians. The momentum gained by all fields of cooperation between Egypt and Russia throughout the past five years is the best indicator for the depth and firmness of our relations.”



Visiting Germany

Sisi visited Germany on October 28, 2018, to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and attend the Second Summit on German-African Partnership on Tuesday, aiming at improving African economies and attracting investments into African markets along with setting up infrastructure projects to upgrade the standards of living of African peoples.

After the Summit, Sisi and Merkel held a press conference, during which Sisi praised the bilateral relations between the two countries, saying they represent “a diverse partnership in various fields,” adding that the strength of the two countries’ relationship can be seen from the numerous meetings held between the leadership of both countries over the past three years, as well as the outstanding level of bilateral cooperation and continuous coordination on many regional and international cases.

Sisi described his consultation session with Merkel as “constructive,” saying that they had discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations at various levels and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern.

“We affirmed our determination to deepen and develop the horizons of partnership between the two countries in light of the important position occupied by Germany internationally and within the European Union,” Sisi stated.



Visiting Italy

On November 12, 2018, Sisi visited Italy’s Palermo to take part in the Libya Conference held in Palermo.

The Summit was attended by Libyan Parliament Speaker Aqila Salih, President of the Supreme Council of State, Head of the Presidential Council of the National Reconciliation Government Fayez Al-Sarraj, and representatives from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Tunisia, Qatar, France, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Britain, Canada, Chad, Jordan, Malta, the European Union, the United Nations, the League of Arab States and the African Union.

The Palermo Summit discussed “holding the elections in Libya, unifying the country's executive authority, developing common vision to fight terrorism in the country and supporting the Egyptian efforts aiming to unify the Libyan military establishment,” according to the State Information Service official website.

Additional Reporting: Noha el-Tawil, Amr Mohamed Kandil, and Egypt Today Staff




 
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