Egypt: business in the service of warming up a historic relationship

On 9 May, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri traveled to Morocco as part of an official visit at the invitation of his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita. The latter received him at the headquarters of Moroccan diplomacy opposite the historic city of Chellah.

For some, this visit is comparable to that of any other foreign minister, but it is of particular importance given the announcements made after the meeting between the two diplomats.

After numerous interpretations of Egypt’s stance on the Sahara issue, Sameh Choukri settled the debate and clearly expressed his country’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity. A position made all the more clear that it was included in the joint press release.

Cairo remains committed to a UN solution, but supports a solution to the conflict within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty. Sameh Choukri reiterated his country’s support for Security Council Resolution 2602 of 2021, which clearly recognizes the relevance and central role of Morocco’s proposed autonomy plan as a solution to the conflict, and calls on the parties, including Algeria, to participate to participate in political Processing.

In addition, Sameh Choukri took advantage of his presence in Morocco to express his appreciation for Morocco’s serious and credible efforts to make progress towards a political settlement of the Sahara issue. Let’s not forget that the Kingdom continues to win diplomatic victories and has the support of Germany, Spain, France and the United States for the autonomy initiative. Added to this is the support of many African and Arab countries that have opened diplomatic missions in the southern provinces.

Convergence of views

The Egyptian position reflects the convergence of positions between Rabat and Cairo, who share a desire to deepen consultations on all issues of common interest. At this point, it was decided to relaunch the Political Coordination and Consultation Mechanism, the fourth session of which will take place in Cairo.

Although the date is not yet known, this meeting will take place in the second half of the current year. This is an institutional mechanism that allows the two countries to exchange views and coordinate their actions on various issues of common interest at the Arab and African levels. “There is a convergence of positions between Morocco and Egypt and the desire to translate bilateral coordination into joint initiatives that serve the interests of both countries, as well as regional security, peace and stability,” Nasser Bourita said at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart.

Sensitive files on the table

There are many sensitive issues for Rabat and Cairo to work on, both at the Arab and African levels. It should be remembered there that the two countries share membership of the Arab League and the African Union. Sensitive subjects are not lacking, however, we cite the sulphurous file of the Renaissance Dam (Ennahda) which pits Egypt against Ethiopia with regard to the exploitation of the waters of the Nile.

In this matter, Moroccan diplomacy is behaving cautiously and moderately, especially since Cairo expects Morocco’s support in return for its overt support for the national cause. The Kingdom also has interests to maintain with Ethiopia. This question was central to the discussions between Nasser Bourita and Sameh Choukri, who discussed the latest developments in the conflict, which in the eyes of the Egyptians is a crucial question because it concerns water security.

Taking note of this, Morocco fully and fully supports Egypt’s sovereignty and water security while rejecting unilateral decisions regarding the exploitation of the Nile’s resources. This is the official position of the Kingdom as expressed by Nasser Bourita in the joint press release in which the head of Moroccan diplomacy called on Cairo and Addis Ababa to promote coordination and consultation with good intentions, in accordance with the resolution of the Security Council in September 2021.

The Egyptian minister also indicated that his meeting with Mr Bourita was an opportunity to discuss various issues of common concern related to Africa, in particular the Sahel-Saharan region, developments in Libya, the Palestinian issue and the fight against terrorism, terrorist organizations and extremist ideology.

Soon the business forum

In addition, the two countries now want to gear up in economic cooperation. During their talks, Nasser Bourita and his Egyptian counterpart emphasized the need to promote investment and business in general.

It is clear that political convergence is not enough to strengthen international relations in the 21st century without common economic interests. Reason why Morocco and Egypt want to promote investment in both directions, by setting up the business forum. This is a preparatory step for the meeting of the Joint Economic Commission, which will be chaired by the heads of state of the two countries.

In this regard, the joint statement emphasized that the economic and investment dimension is a fundamental pillar in the relations between the two countries, given the ability of the two states to establish a relationship of cooperation and complementarity in many areas. , the unique strategic positioning of the two countries, their great economic potential and their excellent human skills.

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