Overview of Egypt-Uruguay relations, ahead of upcoming summit

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Wed, 31 May 2017 - 03:09 GMT

Egyptian and Uruguay flags- Courtesy of State Information Service

Egyptian and Uruguay flags- Courtesy of State Information Service

CAIRO – 31 May 2017: President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez arrived in Cairo Wednesday, where he is set to meet with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries, as well as counterterrorism efforts and other issues of mutual concern.

Vazquez is accompanied by Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Uruguay's minister of Foreign Affairs, and a delegation of businessmen, aiming to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two states.

The meeting will tackle economic collaboration between Egypt and Uruguay in a number of fields, presidential sources revealed. It will address Egypt's Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Common Market of South America (Mercosur), which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well the customs facilitation deal, signed by the Foreign Affairs ministers of the two states by the end of 2016.

The visit also aims to harmonize the two countries' stances regarding several issues discussed before the UN Security Council, since both Egypt and Uruguay are members of the council and share remarkable bilateral cooperation and diplomatic relations since 1932, the sources added.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Novoa in November, where they discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern, including conditions in the Palestinian territories, as well as the crises in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

Egypt-Uruguay relations originated in 1932, when they signed a Friendship Agreement in Rome.

Egypt-Uruguay economic relations

- Egypt has been an important trade partner of Uruguay. The main Uruguayan exports to Egypt are dairy products, live cattle, frozen beef, meat and bone meal, soybeans, frozen fish, veterinary equipment and products. Meanwhile, Egypt's exports to Uruguay consist of agricultural products, electric boilers, carpets, herbs, spices, fabrics and textiles, according to the official websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

- Uruguayan exports to Egypt increased to $180.8 million in 2014, compared to $111.1 million in 2013, while Egyptian exports to Uruguay fell from $15 million in 2013 to $7.1 million in 2014.

- In 2010, Egypt signed a preferential Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Common Market of South America (Mercosur), of which Uruguay is a permanent partner. It aimed at cutting tariffs by over 90 percent between Egypt and the Mercosur countries, as well as cancelling customs duties on agricultural goods and promoting cooperation in investment, services and other fields. Egypt was the first Arab and African country to sign such an agreement with Latin America countries.

Egypt-Uruguay diplomatic relations:

- Diplomatic relations between the two countries date back to 1952, when Egypt assigned a non resident ambassador to Uruguay for the first time.
- The Egyptian embassy in Montevideo was opened in October 1958. Uruguay also has an embassy in Cairo and an honorary consulate in Alexandria.

Egypt-Uruguay military/peace keeping relations
Since 1982, Uruguay has been contributing to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) located in the Sinai Peninsula, a joint organization of 12 nations and troop providers in charge of supervising the implementation of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.

Uruguay has a battalion of 58 personnel, who provide a Transport and Engineering Unit (TREU) to support the MFO's mission, according to MFO's official website.

Varquez is set to meet with Sisi at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday evening.

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