President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received world leaders and diplomatic envoys ahead of the official inauguration of the New Suez Canal project Thursday, announced to be a day of national celebrations at the canal and across Egypt.
On Wednesday, Al-Sisi met with Zein El-Abidine Rashad, Singapore’s Middle East envoy, who communicated an official invitation from his president calling on Al-Sisi to visit Singapore in 2016, in a first visit of its kind, which would come to celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations.
The two also discussed potential cooperation in water desalination projects, ports management, and education, as Al-Sisi expressed his admiration of Singapore’s economic and technological advancements. The Egyptian presidency reported that “Rashad was impressed by the speed of work at the new canal”.
Further, Al-Sisi also met with the Special Envoy of the Indian Prime Minister and the Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, who reportedly noted that his country accords great attention to the project and looks forward to new areas of cooperation between the two countries.
They also discussed a number of areas of proposed cooperation, including programming and the pharmaceutical industry. Al-Sisi welcomed Indian investment in Egypt, adding that the Suez Canal Axis Development project will offer promising investment opportunities.
In addition, the process of developing Egyptian ports will facilitate access to different parts of the world, including big markets in neighbouring countries.
Al-Sisi highlighted the new economic legislation that will facilitate business procedures and investment in Egypt, as Gadkari noted that his country looks forward to Al-Sisi’s visit to India.
Furthermore, Yemeni president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi also arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, praising Egypt’s support for the constitutional legitimacy in Yemen through its participation with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries in the military operations against the Houthis in Yemen.
For his part, Al-Sisi highlighted the importance of continuing political dialogue that is inclusive of all parties in Yemen, as coordinated with the GCC and the UN. He further ordered an Egyptian plane loaded with medical supplies and food to be sent as a gift from the people of Egypt to the people of Yemen, in addition to deploying a number of Egyptian doctors to offer the medical care necessary for the Yemeni people.
This comes as other officials arrive to Cairo Thursday, such as Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha of the African Union Commission, and Head of the Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Cherkov.
According to state media, Cairo International Airport said it received a notification of 800 representatives from 121 countries expected to arrive to participate in the opening, including 29 state leaders. Among those countries are Sudan, the UAE, France, the US, Germany, the UK and Russia.