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Egypt

(last updated: 13.11.2017)
 

The Republic of Estonia and the Arab Republic of Egypt recognised each other through respective membership in the League of Nations (Estonia acceded in 1922, Egypt in 1937).

Egypt re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 6 September 1991. Diplomatic relations were established on 2 January 1992.

In May 2007, the first Estonian Ambassador to Egypt, residing in Tallinn, Mrs. Tiia Miller presented her credentials to President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak.

From 2001 until 2008 Mr. Talaat El-Sayed Ahmed Zekri operated as a Honorary consul of the Republic of Estonia in Cairo. Termination of the authority of the honorary consul resulted from the starting of Estonian Special Mission to Egypt in November 2007 with the task to prepare the opening of the Embassy.

On 1 March 2010 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet opened the Estonian Embassy in Cairo, which is the first Estonian Embassy in an Arab country and on the continent of Africa. 

The first Estonian resident Ambassador to Egypt, Mr. Paul Teesalu presented his credentials to President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak on 6 December 2010.

The current Estonian Ambassador to Egypt Mr. Sander Soone presented his credentials to President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on 14 September 2014. Ambassador Soone also represents Estonia in the League of Arab States and the African Union.

Egyptian Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Sherif Yehia Refaat presented his credentials to President Kersti Kaljulaid on 21 March 2017. Ambassador Refaat resides in Helsinki.

Historic Overview

At the beginning of the 1920s, dozens of Estonians lived in Egypt, having found themselves in Egypt following the defeat of the armies of Denikin and Wrangel in South Russia. The majority of the Estonians soon left Egypt, while some stayed in Egypt. Several female Estonian missionaries, who were part of the Egyptian General Mission established in 1898, found work and began a new life in Egypt.

At the beginning of 1925, Jaan Lattik, a clergyman and educator, and Ernst Ederberg, an architect visited Egypt. At the same period, Lattik published his travel memoirs "To the South", at first in the newspaper "Päevaleht" and thereafter as a separate book.

Visits

January 2005 - Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland’s visit to Egypt. The Foreign Minister visited Cairo and Alexandria. In Cairo the meetings with Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister of International Co-operation Faysa Aboul-Naga and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the People’s Assembly Mustafa Alfeq took place. In Alexandria the minister paid a visit to the Library of Alexandria, met with the Director of the recently created Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for a Dialogue of Cultures and with the Governor of Alexandria.

November 2005 – Estonian Prime Minister Ansip in Barcelona at the Euromed Summit met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef.

December 2007 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in the framework of the EU- African Union Summit in Lisbon.

March 2009 – Foreign Minister Paet and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit met in Cairo prior to the international donors’ conference for the reconstruction of Gaza in Sharm el Sheikh.

March 2010 – Official visit of Foreign Minister Urmas Paet to Egypt, during which he opened the Estonian Embassy in Egypt.

November 2012 - Foreign Minister Urmas Paet took part in the European Union and Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo.

October 2014 - Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Hassan Shoukry met in Cairo on the sidelines of an international Gaza donors' conference.

December 2016 - Foreign Minister Sven Mikser took part in the European Union and Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo.

August 2017 - Foreign Minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry visited Estonia. Foreign Minister Shoukry met with Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, president Kersti Kaljulaid and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson.

Agreements

  • Agreement for economic, technical and research co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (came into force 9 February 1999)
  • Cultural co-operation memorandum between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (signed 12 May 2004)
  • Memorandum of mutual understanding for co-operation between the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Estonia and the Foreign Ministry of the Arab Republic of Egypt (came into force 24 January 2005)

Economic Relations

Egypt is an important country for the tourism sector. Egypt has become one of the most important travel destination for Estonians. Egypt holiday locations and cultural treasures are visited traditionally by 20-30 000 Estonian tourists a year. Trade has remained relatively subdued.

TRADE

Estonian-Egypt trade from 2010-2016 (special trade, in millions EUR):

  Export Import
2010 46.7 1.8
2011 16.8 2.1
2012 17.1 2.1
2013 13.1 2.1
2014 12.6 2.6
2015 13.8 2.5
2016 12.6 3.2

In 2015 the highest proportion of exports were paper and pulp paper (about 55,2% of total exports), followed by vegetables and root vegetables and electrical machinery and equipment.

On 2 March 2014, a memorandum on nformation technology and telecommunications cooperation was concluded between Estonia and Egypt, which aims to develop cooperation in the field of information technology and to help Egypt to actively adopt national e-solutions. The Memorandum of Cooperation was concluded by an  Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Taavi Kotka during a visit to Cairo.

On 1 October 2015, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry held an Egyptian-themed business seminar, which was attended by an Egyptian business delegation. The seminar enabled Estonian companies to gain an overview of the business climate in Egypt and meet with representatives of Egyptian companies.

On 26-28 January 2016, the Foreign Ministry's Undersecretary Väino Reinart visited Egypt along with a business delegation.

Investments

According to the Bank of Estonia (30 September 2016) Estonian companies had investments in Egypt in the wholesale and retail trade, and real estate activities sectors. The volume of investments has not been published. Egyptian investors have invested 187 000 euros in Estonia (sectors: wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, real estate activities, professional, scientific and technical activities, and administrative and support service activities. (Source: Bank of Estonia).

Cultural Co-operation

On 12 May 2004, the Memorandum of Cultural Co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt was signed in Tallinn. Up until now, cultural contacts have mainly been through participation in art exhibitions and film festivals.

 

 

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