Egypt and Lebanon
Monday، 28 March 2011 12:00 AM
Egypt is the first Arab country to recognize Lebanon's independence; Cairo was the venue to negotiate the independence of Lebanon while hosting the meeting attended by President Bechara el-Khoury and Mr. Riad Solh under the patronage of the then Prime Minister of Egypt, Mustafa Nahas Pasha in the forties. The meeting resulted in the Declaration of the alliance between Khoury and el-Solh and the formulation of "National Charter" which established a system of governance in Lebanon in the post-French Mandate.
The bilateral relations between Egypt and Lebanon is based on the principle of mutual respect and continuous consultation and coordination of views and positions on issues of common interest and issues of the Middle East in general.
The bilateral relations took a new impetus after the historic visit by former president Hosni Mubarak to Lebanon in February 19, 2000, the first for an Egyptian president since the independence of Lebanon, in order to confirm that Egypt stands by Lebanon in the face of Israeli aggression.
The visit left positive echoes and had a positive effect on strengthening the relations between the two countries and peoples, notably after Mubarak issued directives to fix all power stations destroyed by Israeli aggression in some Lebanese cities, especially in the South.
In the framework of the opening-up policy adopted by Egypt toward the various Lebanese parties and standing always on the same distance from all political rivals , president Mubarak has met with President Michel Suleiman in October 2007 when he was commander of the army, and then continued meetings in more than one forum, including the meeting on the sidelines of the Mediterranean Union in Paris in July 2008 and the NAM summit held in Sharm El-Sheikh in July 2009 , as well as a visit by President Michel Suleiman in Cairo in 2008.
Egypt was keen on participating in the session for the election of President Michel Suleiman on May 25, 2008 with a high-level delegation comprising of the President of the People's Assembly, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Saad el-Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon has visited Cairo several times, most recently in May 2010 where he met with the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
On the other hand, senior Egyptian officials continue to visit Lebanon on various levels , including multiple visits by former Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit to Beirut , most recently in April 24, 2010, where he met with a number of Lebanese political leaders to provide support to the government and the Lebanese people following the Israeli threats.
The seventh session of the High Egyptian-Lebanese joint commission , which was held under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and his Lebanese counterpart Saad Hariri, in June 2010, gave great impetus to bilateral relations between the two countries especially in view of the level of representation and participation of Egypt in the work of the commission , and the number of agreements and memoranda of understanding and executive programs concluded in the fields of health and social affairs, environment, film, youth, media and tourism.
On the sidelines of the Joint Commission, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif met with President Michel Suleiman and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, stressing the interest of former President Mubarak to follow up the situation in Lebanon, and his keenness to stabilize the pillars of security and stability.
Egypt reaffirmed its readiness to continue to provide all forms of support and assistance for strengthening development efforts, and to move forward with plans set forward to strengthen Lebanon's electricity and natural gas network to contribute to the prosperity of the brotherly Lebanese people.
Lebanese presidential crisis
Egypt adopted a clear stance in respect of the Lebanese Presidential crisis and Parliament's failure to ensure the quorum required for the session, held on November 25, 2007, to choose a replacement for outgoing President Emil Lahoud. Egypt's position is based on the principles of foreign policy as applied to international and regional issues.
Egypt called upon all parties concerned to refrain from interfering in Lebanon's affairs thereby allowing the Lebanese people to decide their future and encouraging politicians to communicate with one another.
Egypt's main concern is protecting Lebanon's sovereignty and independence and safeguarding the unity of its people.
On 14/2/2005, with the numerous crises facing Lebanon including the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri and the ousting of Saad al-Hariri's cabinet in 2010, Egypt called for preserving the national unity of the Lebanese people.
On 19/2/2006, former President Hosni Mubarak paid a visit to Lebanon to accentuate his country's support of the Lebanese people in their struggle against Israel's military attacks on civilian facilities and power stations. The visit was the first by Former Egyptian President since Lebanon's independence and thus had a far-reaching impact on the
two countries' relations.
On 13/6/2008, Egypt underlined the fact that Lebanon is country with 17 sects based on a
very delicate balance and called for the formation of a government as part of the Arab-sponsored Doha agreement.
On 18/7/2008, Egypt welcomed Lebanon's national unity government formed after a long stalemate.
On 16/8/2016, based on the close relations between Egypt and the brotherly Republic of Lebanon on the official and popular levels, and stressing Egypt's keenness to communicate and consult with all the Lebanese sects, each of which is linked by special historical relations, Egypt moved effectively to resolve the crises that hit Lebanon, especially the presidential vacuum in the country, following the failure of the Lebanese House of Representatives in the election of President of the Republic.
On 21/9/2016, the President met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The President affirmed Egypt's keenness to follow up developments in Lebanon and preserve its security and stability, stressing the importance of preserving and supporting the unity of the Lebanese people and institutions.
The President expressed the importance of continuing efforts to achieve the national consensus necessary for the election of the President of the Republic, in the interest of the Lebanese people contributing to the country's progress on the path of progress and stability.
On 31/10/2016, Michel Aoun was elected as a president of Lebanon. The Presidency congratulated the Lebanese people on the election of the Lebanese Parliament, Michel Aoun as President of the Republic of Lebanon. Lebanon election is an important step to consolidate the concept of the national state with its institutions and to achieve political stability. The presidency wished President Aoun success in carrying out his duties.
On this occasion, the Presidency stressed the depth of the historical relations between Egypt and Lebanon and its keenness to strengthen bilateral relations in various fields.
On 13/2/2017, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi held a bilateral talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun during his official visit to Egypt, followed by a meeting between the two delegations. The president renewed his congratulations on his election as president of Lebanon.
President Sisi also expressed his confidence that the leadership and wisdom of President Aoun will provide the stability required for Lebanon at all levels and will contribute to the preservation of state institutions and independence. His mandate will enhance Lebanon's status as a country of political pluralism and cultural diversity. He confirmed that Egypt will continue supporting Lebanon with all possible means to continue building and development process.
- On March 23, 2017, Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Egypt and was received by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
- On 13/2/2017, Michel Aoun, President of Lebanon, visited Egypt. He was received by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. The two sides discussed means of enhancing the bilateral relations between Egypt and Lebanon, especially on the economic and trade levels, and discussed regional and international issues of common concern.
- On 2/2/2017 Fatthallah Fawzi, Chairman of the Egyptian Lebanese Businessmen Association, visited Egypt and was received by Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of International Cooperation. The two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries and the current preparations for the eighth session of the High Joint Committee between Egypt and Lebanon headed by the prime ministers of the two countries.
- On 19/11/2016, Lebanese Foreign Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gebran Bassil visited Egypt. He was received by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The two sides discussed a number of issues to improve the Egyptian-Lebanese relations, as well as discussing bilateral issues of common interest.
- On 15/11/2016, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Lebanon to congratulate and express the satisfaction of the Egyptian people and government for the developed situation in Lebanon ended with the election of President Michel Aoun. Shoukry conveyed to the Lebanese President a message of solidarity from President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, which included his invitation to visit Egypt. The meeting dealt with the bilateral relations between the two countries at various levels.
- On 14/5/2016, Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr visited Lebanon, met with Speaker of the Lebanese House of Representatives Nabih Berri. They discussed economic cooperation between Egypt and Lebanon within the framework of regional Arab economic integration. The Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament welcomed the initiative.
- On 12/4/2016, Nabih Berri, Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament and Chairman of the Arab Parliamentary Union, visited Egypt. He was received by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. The President stressed Egypt's interest in reaching a political settlement in Syria as that will help the Syrian refugees to return to their country. The two sides agreed on the importance of dialogue and Arab solidarity at this critical stage in the Arab region.
On 17/6/2015, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam. The President expressed Egypt’s keenness on following up the latest developments in Lebanon, especially in the aftermath of the deteriorating security situation in Syria. Sisi also shed light on Egypt's endeavors to maintain the unity of the Lebanese territories and support the State institutions.
On 27/3/2015, Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam visited Egypt to attend 26th meeting of the Arab summit.
On 13/3/2015, Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam visited Egypt to attend Egypt Economic Development Conference.
On 3/2/2015, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met the Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian. Sisi stressed the important role played by men of the cloth in countering extremist thinking and promoting the tolerant values of Islam.
On 12/11/2014, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk for talks over developing cooperation between the two countries.
On 3/9/2014, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received Lebanese Druze Leader Walid Jumblatt. The President reviewed with Jumblatt a wide range of regional issues of common concern topped by the Syrian crisis.
On 25/3/2014, former President Adly Mansour met with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on the fringe of the Arab summit that kicked off in Kuwait. Mansour congratulated the Lebanese President on the formation of a Lebanese consensus government and listened to his views on the latest Lebanese developments, the government's policy statement before the parliament and the future presidential vote after the expiry of Suleiman's term in May.
On 22/3/2014, former Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam in Beirut. They tackled bilateral relations and the latest developments in the Arab region especially Syria. Fahmy stressed the necessity of reaching a political solution that maintains the sovereignty of the Syrian State.
On 10/3/2014, former President Adly Mansour received Lebanese Foreign Minister Gobran Bassil. During the meeting, Mansour expressed his best wishes for the Lebanese government in the light of the extraordinary circumstances in Lebanon, expressing hope that the Lebanese parties would overcome the reasons hindering reconciliation on the government policy in order to gain the confidence of the parliament. Mansour stressed that Egypt is not only defending itself, but the entire region as well.
On 18/6/ 2010, Former Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif visited Lebanon to hand over a message from Former President Mubarak to Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. The message dealt with the Arab situation and Egypt's efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and end the Gaza blockade.
On 12/6/2010, Former Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit received Leader of the Lebanese Forces Party Samir Ja'ja for talks on the latest developments in Lebanon.
On 12/6/2010, Former President Mubarak received former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri for talks on ways of boosting bilateral ties and Egypt's contributions to the rebuilding of Lebanon. Discussions also dealt with extending the Arab Gas Pipeline to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
On 22/5/ 2010, Former President Mubarak received former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri for talks on how Egypt could help Lebanon achieve stability especially with the new government now installed.
On 9/4/ 2010, Former Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit received former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora for talks on regional developments and Lebanon.
On 20/12/ 2009, Former Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit received visiting Lebanese MP and Future Bloc Member Mohammad al-Haggar.
On 18/5/2009, Former Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit received his Eminence Sheikh Ali al-Amin, the Mufti of Sur. The two men discussed the situation in Lebanon.
On 8/4/ 2009, Former Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit received former Lebanese Minister of State for Administrative Development to discuss ways of maintaining Lebanon's stability and security.
On 28/10/ 2008, the Higher Egyptian-Lebanese Committee met in Cairo after a 7-year interruption on account of Israel's military attacks.
Egypt and Lebanon have strong economic relations and the Egyptian-Lebanese Joint Committee was able to promote and support the trade movement between the two countries, especially after the liberation of Lebanon from the Israeli occupation.
On 23/3/2017, the eighth session of the Higher Committee of Egypt and Lebanon was held under the chairmanship of the Prime Ministers of the two countries. The two sides attended the signing ceremony of 17 documents and a protocol for joint cooperation between the two countries, which contribute to support and enhance all fields of cooperation.
The agreements signed between the two parties included:
- Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Administration and Civil Service, Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in the Field of Veterinary Services, Executive Program for Cooperation in the Field of Tourism, Cooperation Protocol in the Industrial Field, Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation between the Egyptian International Trade Zone and the Lebanese Trade Information Center and Memorandum of Understanding on Participation in International Exhibitions and Fairs.
- A memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of intellectual property and patents, as well as the Executive Program for Cultural Cooperation, a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of archeology and heritage, the first executive program for cooperation in the field of environmental protection, executive program of cooperation in the field of sport, executive program of cooperation in the field of youth, and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of consumer protection, and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of micro and small and medium-sized enterprises, and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the security field.
Lebanon's investments in Egypt are employed in more than 1300 projects and Lebanon is ranked the 13th among 152 countries investing in Egypt. The Economic and Business Group plays an active role in enhancing the relationship between Egyptian and Lebanese businessmen.
In May 2016, the Egyptian-Lebanese Friendship Association for Businessmen participated in the Egyptian-Lebanese Cooperation Forum in Africa, which was held in Cairo with the participation of Lebanese businessmen, officials and importers of African markets as part of the initiative launched by the association with a number of business organizations ; The Chamber of Metal Industries and the Export Council for Building Materials in cooperation with the Commercial Representation for the Egyptian-Lebanese Cooperation for Export to Africa.
In June 2016, the first export deal under the "Egypt-Lebanon-Africa" initiative was concluded in the contracting of exporting 60 containers of Egyptian ceramics to Uganda after the establishment of the Egyptian Lebanese Company to support the Egyptian export to Africa.
In April 2016, Lebanon and Palestine joined the Agadir Agreement, which includes Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan, during the third meeting of the Agadir Trade Ministers' Committee. The Ministers of the 4 countries also signed agreements for joint cooperation in different fields and protection of industrial property.
The most important merchandise exchanged between the two countries:
- Top 10 merchandise in Egyptian exports to Lebanon
Iron or steel rods, copper wire, potato, industrial detergent, vegetable and animal oils and greases, petroleum kerosene, iron products, bricks, ceramic tiles, plastics and articles thereof.
- Top 10 merchandise in Egyptian imports
Scrap iron, apple, paper machinery and board, plates and sheets, plastics, phosphoric acid, paper and cardboard, books and publications, Portland cement, tractors, spare parts for cars.
Egypt - Lebanon initiative to Africa
In early 2016, the Egyptian-Lebanese initiative was launched at the Egyptian-Lebanese Meeting in Beirut. The Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Dr. Mohamed Badr El-Din Zayed called for this initiative in the presence of representatives of many Egyptian and Lebanese business organizations and companies. Egyptian-Lebanese companies working in the field of building materials and construction participated in the conference, in coordination with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut, Tripoli and Sayda. Egypt is selected as a geographical gateway to the African continent because it has successful industrial bases in a number of important sectors including pharmaceuticals.
The establishment of an Egyptian-Lebanese company for marketing Egyptian and Lebanese exports in the African continent is the effective tool for the Egypt-Lebanon initiative to Africa and the first step towards a larger Arab-African economic integration project.
It is planned to focus on a number of African countries in the first phase of the initiative such as: Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, through the envoy of commercial missions to these countries from among Egyptian businessmen working in the sectors of building materials, medicines, cosmetics, garments, household furnishings, chemicals, and food industries, starting the last quarter of 2016.
Commerce Missions to Africa:
-In March 2016, the Egyptian Trade Mission for the Building Materials Sector visited Beirut in a four day visit organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, represented in the Commercial Representation Authority, in cooperation with the Export Council of Building Materials and the Chambers of Building Materials and Mining Industries in the Federation of Industries and the Egyptian Lebanese Friendship Society. From the Lebanese side, Talal Nasr El Din, member of the African continental council, and the Egyptian side Majid El Menshawy and Ahmed Abdel Hamid .
The meeting resulted in:
- Signing an agreement to establish an Egyptian-Lebanese company based in Beirut, in addition to establishing the Egyptian-Lebanese Forum for Cooperation in Africa.
- The establishment of the Egyptian-Lebanese Forum for Cooperation in Africa as a recognized NGO in Beirut targeting the promotion of Egyptian industries in Africa using a number of mechanisms of cooperation with the countries of the continent.
Egyptian Lebanese Business Council
On 3/6/2017, the Lebanese Business Council was held in Beirut, attended by Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Raed Khoury and Agriculture Minister Ghazi Zuaiter. The meeting was attended by officials of the Egyptian Embassy in Lebanon and the Egyptian Trade Representatives. The meeting discussed the promotion of economic relations between the two countries.
Eng. Ahmed El Sewedy, head of the Egyptian side of the Egyptian-Lebanese Business Council, said that the council will focus on the sectors that have competitive advantages in the Lebanese market, mainly construction materials, agricultural crops, food industries, engineering and chemical industries.
He pointed out that the plan of the Council aims to increase the volume of trade exchange between the two countries to reach $ 1.5 billion and that the Egyptian exports reach 1.25 billion and Lebanese exports to Egypt to reach 250 million dollars, noting that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached 850 million dollars in 2016 with Egyptian exports representing 90% of it. Lebanese investments in Egypt reach 4 billion dollars and it is intended to be increased to 5 billion. He explained that Egypt is considered the cheapest industrial country in the world and it is a large industrial base with low price electricity, lands and labor.
On 4/8/2017 Fathalla Fawzy –chairman of the Egyptian-Lebanese Businessmen Association declared that the Lebanese government intends to increase its investments in Egypt to reach
$5.5 billion at the end of 2018.Lebanon’s imports from Egypt are estimated at $750
millions whereas its exports to Egypt reached $100 millions. Lebanon is the 14th
investor in the Egyptian market implementing 1239 projects in different sectors
The cultural relations between Egypt and Lebanon are complementary and not competitive. The cultural relations between the two countries witnessed positive development. The former Minister of Awqaf, Dr. Mahmoud Hamdi, Zaqzouq in 19/5/2010 said during a meeting with Sheikh Abdul Latif Bryan, Chairman of the Sunni Shari'a Courts that the Ministry is ready to cooperate with all institutions and religious and judicial bodies in the Arab and Islamic world and to employ all of its capabilities to introduce the true Islam and consolidate the approach of moderation and unite the word of the nation.
Egyptian-Lebanese cultural relations are crowned by modern symbols such as George Zidane, Mai Ziadah and Khalil Motran and Fairouz songs with her angelic voice. Egypt embraced Lebanese artists like Sabah, Bishara Wakim, Ragheb Alama, Elissa, Karol Samaha, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Nancy Ajram, the pioneers of the theater in Egypt, Rose El Youssef and others.
Egyptian Lebanese Cultural Forum
The Egyptian-Lebanese Cultural Forum, organized by Al-Ahram Foundation in cooperation with the Lebanese-Egyptian Friendship association was held on 10/10/2016 in the presence of a large crowd of writers, intellectuals and thinkers from both sides to document the Egyptian-Lebanese cultural heritage on one hand, and to promote the cultural relations between the two sides, which are already deeply rooted on the other hand.