Saturday, Nov 02, 2013
Abu Dhabi: Egypt’s politicians and activists on Saturday praised the UAE’s stand on Egypt, and the support provided to its people to ensure the country’s stability. A 40-man popular diplomacy delegation extended their heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the UAE for supporting the Egyptian economy through various initiatives and contributions that reflect the brotherly relations between the two nations and their peoples.
“Love for the UAE and its founder late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan is in the hearts of every Egyptian,” Makram Mohammad Ahmad, a political analyst and former chief of Egypt’s Press Syndicate, said.
He said Egypt can never forget Shaikh Zayed’s stands, especially when he spearheaded a collective Arab campaign during the 1973 Middle East war when he urged Arab leaders to cut off oil supplies saying “Arab oil is not dearer than Arab blood.”
Ahmad paid tribute to the sons of Shaikh Zayed and to every UAE citizen, man and woman, and said the UAE leaders and citizens are fighting the same battle with Egypt.
The UAE pledged $4.9 billion (about Dh18 billion) in support to Egypt last month.
The new support adds to the $2 billion interest-free loan the UAE deposited in Egypt’s central bank last July, but includes a $1 billion cash grant paid at the same time.
More than $1 billion of the money will go to supply Egypt with fuel, while the rest will fund development projects including the construction of 15 wheat silos with a capacity to store 60,000 tonnes each; 79 family health clinics and two vaccine production lines designed to meet 80 per cent of the local needs.
Hamdeen Sabahi, founder of the Egyptian Popular Current and a leading opposition politician under the governments of Hosni Mubarak and Mohammad Mursi, echoed the same sentiments, expressing profound gratitude to UAE leaders, Shaikhs, and UAE citizens for showing noble feelings towards Egypt and the Egyptian people.
“Words cannot convey our gratitude. Your generosity overwhelms us. UAE’s stance ushered in a new phase for the historic ties between the two countries,” Sabahi said, stressing that the UAE people have offered with heartfelt spontaneity all manner of support to Egypt.
Sabahi said the UAE has been extending support to Egypt in political, economic and investment fronts. “Moreover, UAE diplomacy played a key role in rallying support for the revolution among several countries and, needless to say, its financial support has helped Egypt avert many crises,” he said.
Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice Chancellor of UAE University, said he shared “the same overwhelming sentiments towards Egypt and Egyptians whose noble stances carry the sublime significance of love of the UAE.
“An Egyptian teacher taught me how to write, another Egyptian teacher taught me how to read and the principal of my first school was an Egyptian. My father graduated in engineering from Cairo University in Egypt. Egypt’s love abides profusely in our hearts,” Dr Al Nuaimi said.
The UAE aid will also finance 50,000 new homes, 13,000 of which are already under construction; renewable energy and sewage projects in rural villages; 100 new schools and 600 buses.
The UAE was among the first Arab countries to voice support for the July 3 ouster of president Mohammad Mursi, after massive protests against his administration.
In the immediate wake of Mursi’s overthrow, the UAE pledged $3 billion in aid to shore up Egypt’s faltering economy.
Habib Al Sayegh, Chairman of the UAE Union of Writers, gave a reading of one of his works depicting love of Egypt and Jamal Bakheet responded with another poem.
The UAE is the third largest investor in Egypt, with total investments worth about $4.6 billion or 23 per cent of the total Arab investments in the country in 2012, according to Maher Al Sharif, trade attaché at the Egyptian embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Annual trade exchange between the two countries currently stands at around $1.5 billion and some 550 UAE companies currently operate in Egypt.
By Samir Salama Associate Editor
Gulf News 2013. All rights reserved.
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