This week I traveled with a delegation of Kuwait media to Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. The visit was an important moment in Egyptian-Kuwaiti ties. Cairo and Kuwait have enjoyed a long standing and positive relationship and in fact President Sisi recently reiterated his willingness to help protect Kuwait and other Arab Gulf states in the event of a direct threat: “The Egyptian Army belongs to all Arabs,” he said.
The reality is that Egypt has played an important role in the region for decades. It stood with us during the Iraqi aggression and time and time again has stood up for Arab causes, battling the invading European Jews occupying Palestine before Israel was even created.
In recent times, Egypt has undergone a tremendous amount of instability and change brought on by the Arab Spring and the Gulf states including Kuwait stood with our friend to offer support during its moment of need. Gulf states offer millions of jobs to Egyptian expatriates, Kuwaiti and other Khaleeji students study by the tens of thousands in Egypt, every year hundreds of thousands of people from the Gulf travel to Egypt for tourism and our economies and societies are intricately linked.
One of the biggest challenges the Arab world faces today is maintaining unity in the face of external pressures and interference. It is only through the continued development of lasting relationships that we will be able, as a united Arab front, to weather the worst of the storms we are now experiencing and to emerge stronger, more unified and more stable. Our development, our youth, our economies and our futures are tied together.
In Kuwait, we have a saying that goes ‘qoumin taawano ma thallo’ (People who cooperate will not lose). I think this is a good way of describing what we in the Arab world need to remember about our relationships with each other. It’s time we reminded ourselves to stand up for each other and with each other. ‘
By Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan