His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, led a high-level delegation to the ceremony held in Egypt today to celebrate the inauguration of the new Suez Canal.
The ceremony, also attended by a number of world leaders, saw Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, officially ordering the start of navigation in the new canal which was built in a record one year’s time.
Sheikh Mohammed congratulated President el-Sisi on this achievement.
The delegation accompanying Sheikh Mohammed included Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the Co-ordination Office of the UAE Development Projects in Egypt; Lt. General Musabah Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the Dubai Ruler's Office; Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the Arab League; Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director General of Dubai Protocol and Hospitality Department, and other officials.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a charter today in a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the new Suez Canal in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his accompanying delegation, along with a number of Their Majesties Kings, Presidents, Emirs and other world leaders.
Egyptian President thanked the world leaders for their participation in the inauguration ceremony, saying that "Egypt offers to the world a gift for development and construction."
He stressed that Egypt completed the canal project, which is the first step in a series of others to come, "under critical circumstances," commending the Engineering Authority, the Suez Canal Authority, Contracting companies and the Consortium of Dredging Companies, which contributed to the success of this feat.
President el-Sisi added, "The launch of maritime traffic in the channel highlights the goal sought by Egypt to achieve security and stability in a democratic state."
He said that Egypt engaged the most serious terrorist thought, adding that "If it continued, it would burn the earth and the world," stressing that "we are winning the war on terror by insisting to live." El Sisi said, "Egypt's young people are capable to innovate and deliver."
President el-Sisi underscored that "this nation deserves a lot from us. If people are able to dream, then they are capable to deliver."
He then gave the signal to start the Suez Canal, saying, "In the name of God the Merciful and on behalf of the great people of Egypt, we Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, we give instructions to start the new Suez Canal."
The documentary film was screened. It showed the drilling stages of the new canal since the announcement of the start by the Egyptian president a year ago. The efforts continued day and night to accomplish the new canal, which is Egypt's gift to the world.
Egyptian Air Force performed aerial show with the participation of Rafale and F-16 aircraft, while the governorates of Egypt's presented the popular artistic heritage- each governorate presented a painting rich with themes of originality and mixed with joy.
The project aims to increase Egypt's national income of hard currency. It will reduce the transit time to 11 hours instead of 18 hours, as well as reduce the cost of the voyage.
The Egyptian authorities expect the Suez Canal revenues will increase by 259% in 2023 to $13.2 billion, compared to current $ 5.3 billion.
UAE-Egypt brotherly ties
Earlier, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, said among our many brotherly neighbours, Egypt holds a special place in our hearts.
“A strong and stable Egypt is vital to the stability and strength of the whole region,” her notes, adding: “It sits at the crossroads of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), and is a great nation with a proud history. It is Mena’s most populous country and has significant political and strategic influence.”
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Head of the UAE/Egypt Liaison Office, signing protocols on behalf of the UAE government with Egyptian counterparts including Dr. Galal Saeed, Governor of Cairo, Dr. Moheb Al Rifai, Minister of Education, Dr. Adil Adawy, Minister of Health, and Minister of Local Development, Lieutenant Adil Labib. The Prime Minister of Egypt Ibrahim Mahlab and Minster of International Cooperation, Najla Al Ahwany were also in attendance. (Supplied)
The UAE’s brotherly partnership with Egypt dates long back. More than 40 years ago, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father and first President of the UAE, established ties between the UAE and Egypt – setting the fraternal tone and character for one of the UAE’s most important and collaborative bilateral relationships.
A woman looks at a new section of the Suez Canal during a media tour in Ismailia, Egypt. (AP)
Over the years, Egypt and the UAE have worked together in many areas, with both sides benefitting from the exchange. In the early years of this relationship, Egypt sent its teachers, doctors, lawyers and engineers to support the development of the younger nation and its people.
At the same time, the UAE sent its students to study in Egypt’s well established universities. This bilateral exchange of knowledge and human capital and the vital contribution Egypt provided to the UAE’s founding period has solidified this deep fraternal bond and remains in the heart of the people of the UAE.
“Egypt has long been a trusted friend to the UAE. And so, during this period in the history of Egypt and the region, the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic of Egypt have signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines a development programme for Egypt,” Al Jaber announced in March when the UAE signed a historic agreement with Egypt to build a new administrative and business capital for that country at a cost of 150 billion Egyptian pounds (Dh72.25 billion)..
“We are helping Egypt to rebuild, reinvigorate and regain its rightful place as a regional powerhouse and linchpin of stability and economic development for our part of the world,” Al Jaber said.
The UAE-Egypt relationship is based on principles grounded in the consciousness of the UAE as a Nation and in a legacy taken forward by the UAE leadership.
Egypt’s economy is a vital component of the regions development and stability. Egypt sits at the heart of the region, geographically, demographically, culturally, economically and politically.
Scope and Scale of UAE Engagement
The UAE is providing Egypt with both financial and operational resources across a wide range of social and economic development programs, and through technical assistance to help develop the country’s economic development plan.
This includes on-the-ground grant based social development and infrastructure projects, such as the construction of housing units, healthcare centres, grain silos and wastewater treatment facilities.
“The urgency to deliver quick, real and tangible result to average Egyptians, led the UAE, alongside Egypt to initiate a unique hands-on model of foreign assistance,” Al Jaber noted.
• 900,000 New Jobs. The UAE development and infrastructure projects will positively impact 8 million Egyptians and create 900,000 new jobs
• 50,016 Houses. Spending $1.5 billion to construct 50,016 new housing units for families across Egypt, which will house 300,000 Egyptians. These are new communities that have their own mosques, shops, recreation space and childcare facilities.
• 100 Schools. Building 100 schools with 1,668 classrooms across 18 governorates to serve 67,000 students. The UAE has also partnered with the Egyptian government to establish a vocational training and placement program for 100,000 Egyptians.
• 1.5 Million Tonnes. Renovating or constructing 25 wheat silos with a total capacity of 1.5 million tons, thereby doubling Egypt’s wheat storage capacity
• 78 Healthcare Clinics. Constructing 78 fully equipped family healthcare clinics in 23 governorates to serve 780,000 people in 78 remote villages. I addition, the UAE is developing 136 water treatment plants to benefit 1.7 million people in the country.
• 30,275 Solar Homes. Providing solar energy for 30,275 homes in 70 villages. The UAE is a global leader in conventional and renewable energy development and implementation. The UAE’s Egypt projects include building new solar power generators, and extending power supply to 70 rural villages. These efforts will cut the amount of fuel consumed to power small diesel generators by 19 million litres a year and will reduce CO2 emissions by 53,000 tonnes a year.
“We understood that foreign assistance as conventionally practiced would not serve our ambitious goals. Working closely with the UAE embassy in Egypt, we have mobilised a highly skilled team that are based in Egypt and the UAE,” said Al Jaber.
“By being on the ground in Cairo, our team is able to work closely with our Egyptian partners to ensure we accomplish our target goals and fulfil our promises to the government and people of Egypt,” the minister said.