DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — This small Gulf nation, known for its soaring skyscrapers and mercantile bent, is making itself into the most stalwart ally of the Arab world’s biggest country.
The United Arab Emirates has pumped billions of dollars into Egypt and is lining up investors to try to stabilize its damaged economy, while building military cooperation. In their deepening relationship, an economically exhausted Egypt benefits from the UAE’s finances, and the U.S.-allied Emirates gets a heavyweight with extensive manpower on its side in a region deeply unstable with threats of militant violence and Iranian expansion.
“We are among the vanguards calling for stability in Egypt, whose security represents a cornerstone of Arab world security,” Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan told a full house during his speech at a governance conference held in Dubai last month. “We cannot keep our fingers crossed about achieving stability and development in Egypt.”
That conference put the UAE-Egypt relationship front and center among the 80 nations attending. A slick, museum-worthy display outside the vast conference hall spotlighted the countries’ close ties, declaring in a logo, “Among its many brotherly neighbors, Egypt holds a special place with the United Arab Emirates.” Egypt’s prime minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, had a prime speaking spot, which he used to praise the Emirates’ “wise leadership” and the two nations’ friendship.
The Emirates is also a key organizer of an economic development conference aimed at enticing investors to Egypt and reviving its economy, to be held next week in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Egypt the Future investment conference’s speakers list presents a who’s who of the Emirati corporate elite.
Executives from Western blue-chip names like General Electric and Coca Cola will share the stage with UAE-based heads of telecom Etisalat Group, private equity firm Abraaj Capital, and the real estate developer behind the world’s tallest skyscraper, Emaar Properties. Executives from the Gulf nation’s aviation, banking and energy industries will be there too.