Egypt and Somalia
Sunday، 20 January 2013 12:00 AM
The relations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Somalia are strong and durable, from the beginning. The deep relations could be described as historic and trade relations, since the Pharaohs Era, and specifically when Queen Hatshepsut - the Fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty - sent commercial missions to Punt-land and brought some of that region's products including incense.
As for modern Egyptian-Somali relations, Egypt is one of the first countries that recognized the independence of Somalia in 1960. The name of the Egyptian Martyr, Kamal El Din Salah, a United Nations delegate to Somalia, is still appreciated. Late Kamal El Din Salah gave his life in 1957 for his efforts to help Somalia gain independence and to maintain its territorial integrity.
Egypt supported Somalia as well, after its independence in various fields, especially in the field of education, where Egyptian teachers and schools were found in Mogadishu. Al Azhar missions and the teachers affiliated to Al-Azhar Al-Sharif had a role in spreading education and true Islamic teachings.
Since the outbreak of the Somali crisis in 1991, Egypt has been seeking to find solutions and to put an end to fighting between the Somali brothers. Within the framework of Egypt's ongoing attempts to find the cherished solution, Cairo hosted the Somali National Reconciliation Conference in 1997, as most of the Somali faction leaders were gathered then.
Egypt is keen on participating in all international conferences and meetings to discuss the Somali crisis, such as the Khartoum Conference in 2006, and the Djibouti Conference in 2008, which resulted in the appointment of the current President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Egypt is an active member in the International Contact Group on the Somali problem, and is keen on participating in all meetings of the group. It is worthy to mention that the last of such meetings was held at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, on 21st , and 22nd, April 2010.
Egypt belongs to the International Contact Group on combating piracy off the Somali coast and chairs the Working Group IV, emanating from the Group which is concerned with supporting diplomatic efforts and promulgating awareness on the piracy phenomenon. It is worth mentioning that Egypt hosted the second Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast, on March 17th, 2009.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received at Sharm El Sheikh Airport Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud who arrived to attend the two-day Arab Summit.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud on the sidelines of the Egyptian Economic Development Conference.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud at the Presidential Palace. Sisi hailed the historical and close relations between the two countries. Sisi stressed the necessity of boosting bilateral ties in all fields. He reaffirmed Egypt's participation in the regional and international efforts aiming at achieving a political settlement in Somalia. Sisi also referred to Egypt's humanitarian support during the crises period in Somalia, highlighting Cairo's commitment to backing the stability and integrity of Somalia. He also asserted Egypt's keenness to back the efforts of human development in Somalia and training programs to the Somali government staff.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr held talks in Mogadishu with senior Somali officials including parliament speaker, defense minister and foreign minister. The Egyptian minister's visit to Somalia has brought bilateral relations back to normal. Amr has hoisted the Egyptian flag on the Embassy of Egypt in Mogadishu. The Embassy was reopened during Amr's visit to Somalia, the first of its kind in 20 years. In statements on the occasion, the minister said he has decided to reopen the Egyptian embassy in Mogadishu, after the achievement of the country's security and stability, in addition to what has been accomplished since electing Hussein Sheikh Mahmoud as a president of Somalia in September 2012, and forming the new Somali Cabinet.
In the Context of the strong relations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Somalia, and within the framework of the keenness on continuous consultation between the two sides on various issues of mutual concern, President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the Somali Republic paid two visits to the Arab Republic of Egypt on April 22nd , 2009 , while the second visit of the President Sharif was during the period from July 17th, to 19th , 2010.
- Trade Agreement signed between the two countries on 10/12/1961
- Agreement on Cultural Cooperation on 17/1/1961
- Air Transport Agreement on 30/3/1974
- Trade Agreement on 19/7/1978
- Agreement on Economic Cooperation on 29/5/1982
- Agreement on Encouraging and Protecting Investments on 29/5/1982
- Cooperation Protocol between the Radio and Television Unions in both countries on 29/3/1983.
- Cooperation Protocol between the Institute for Diplomatic Studies in Egypt and the Institute for Diplomatic Studies in Somalia on 19/1/1989.
- Executive Program for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation between the two countries in 2005 – 2007.
Cultural and Scientific Relations
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi agreed to increase the number of scholarships offered to Somalia students at the Egyptian universities to become 2000 university scholarships annually. He also agreed to treat the Somali students studying in the various Egyptian universities as Egyptian and Syrian students.
The Role played by the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa (EFTCA) in Supporting Somali Brothers
The EFTCA is keen from a long period to present food and medical assistances for the Somali People, in order to relief those affected by floods, droughts or affected by the battles on the Somali territories.
The most important aids provided by (EFTCA) during the recent period:
- Food cans, and milk powder assistance to Mogadishu in July 2010
- Food aid for Somaliland in December 2009 consists of 100 tons of flour, and 500 cartons of food oil.
- A shipment of medical assistance to Puntland in December 2009
- A medical aid for the Somalia weights 3.5 tons in September 2009.
- The (EFTCA) delegated a number of Doctors as well in various specializations to work in Somalia
EFTCA organized a training course for 15 Somali Diplomat in coordination with the Somali Institute for Diplomatic Studies, during the period from 16th, to 27th, May, 2010
EFTCA invited the Somali side to participate in the training courses organized periodically in the field of police and in this framework several police officers from the Somali side participated in those courses.
The Arab Republic of Egypt still plays an important role today in the spreading of culture and education in the Republic of Somalia by sending teachers of the Ministry of Education to teach in Somali schools, or teachers affiliated to Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, and experts of EFTCA as well who spread education in Higher Education Institutions.
Al-Azhar presents a number of annual scholarships for students delegated from the Republic of Somalia to study at the University of Al Azhar or Al-Azhar Institutes.
The Ministry of Higher Education provided a number of scholarships for Somali students to study at Egyptian Universities.