Can Iraq’s archaeological renaissance help forge a stronger national identity?

Special Assyrian artefacts originally from Mosul are displayed at Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad. (AFP/File Photo)
Assyrian artefacts originally from Mosul are displayed at Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 02 May 2022

Can Iraq’s archaeological renaissance help forge a stronger national identity?

Could the discovery and preservation of ancient Mesopotamian sites and artifacts help reconcile a divided nation? (AFP)
  • Country is witnessing discovery and preservation of ancient Mesopotamian sites and artifacts
  • Growing number of young Iraqis taking an interest in preserving what remains of their heritage

MOSUL/BOGOTA: On Feb. 26, 2015, shocking footage emerged from northwestern Iraq of Daesh militants smashing pre-Islamic artifacts and burning ancient manuscripts at Mosul Cultural Museum.

The terrorist group, which had seized control of the multiethnic city the previous year, had set about looting everything of value and destroying anything that failed to conform to its warped ideology.

The priceless objects had told the singular narrative of Iraq as a land of remarkable civilizations, from the Sumerians and the Akkadians to the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Yet it took only moments for Daesh to erase the evidence of thousands of years of human history.

The same was true across large swaths of the country seized by the militants intent on symbolic destruction and easy loot.


An Iraqi army soldier walks across the ancient ruins of Nimrud following the recapture of the ancient town on the outskirts of Mosul from Daesh extremists. (AFP/File Photo)

An Iraqi army soldier walks across the ancient ruins of Nimrud following the recapture of the ancient town on the outskirts of Mosul from Daesh extremists. (AFP/File Photo)

“Daesh wanted to show and prove that it could not only destroy the present and future of Iraq but its past as well,” Amer Abdul-Razzaq, head of the Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage in Iraq’s southern Dhi Qar province, told Arab News.

“They wanted to destroy the mixed civilization of Iraq, which is diverse with different ethnicities, minorities and nations such as the Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians. They brutally destroyed places like Nimrud, Hatra, the tomb of the Prophet Yunus, and they destroyed many places that are holy and symbolic to Muslims.”

On July 21, 2017, almost two years after the pillaging, Mosul was finally liberated by the Iraqi army, ushering in a period of painstaking work to restore the city’s monuments, churches, mosques and archaeological treasures.

Since then, and the subsequent liberation of other areas that were under the group’s control, Iraq has experienced something of an archaeological renaissance, with foreign experts returning to the country and a growing number of young Iraqis taking an interest in preserving what remains of their heritage.

“Antiquities and heritage unite us and let us recognize we all belong to each other, and it is important for us to know we all go back to one root in some point in ancient history,” Falih Al-Shmari, who is studying for a doctorate at the University of Baghdad, told Arab News.

“For example, Assyrian mandates were found in the north, east, west and south of Iraq, which indicates we all were Assyrian at some point and we belong to others as one identity.

“Even in Islamic history, we were the same and there is the same description of Islamic architecture and ideas. We are an Islamic society and we were all educated in Islamic principles and education in the past.”




Numerous sculptures, pottery and cuneiform artifacts, which are estimated to date back to 3,000 BC, are unearthed by British Museum archaeologists in what was once the ancient city of Girsu, capital of the Kingdom of Lagash, now in Dhi Qar, Iraq. (AFP/File Photo)

Among the most recent discoveries is a mosque built from mud dating back to the Umayyad period, about 1,400 years ago, uncovered by British Museum specialists in tandem with local experts at Tell Kabiba in Dhi Qar.

Prior to this, in 2016, an archaeological team led by Sebastien Rey of the British Museum, discovered the Enino temple — also known as the Temple of the White Thunderbird — in the Assyrian city of Girsu, now known as Tello, in the north of Dhi Qar.

Other European-led missions working in Tello have uncovered the temple of King Gudea, the most famous Sumerian king of the Lagash dynasty, who ruled between 2144 B.C. and 2124 B.C.

In the past year, French archaeologists working in the city of Larsa at Tell Es-Senkereh discovered the palace of King Sin Ednam (1850-1844 B.C.), which dates back to the ancient Babylonian era.

Six missions from Britain, France and Italy working in the Sumerian city of Girsu have uncovered a residential area dating back to the Early Dynastic period (2900–2350 B.C.), including the temple of the god of war Ningirsu.

Another major achievement is the restoration of what is perhaps the oldest bridge in the world, in the city of Girsu. The work on the 4,000-year-old structure is taking place under a five-year contract with a British team.

British and German excavation teams have also uncovered the site of the ancient city of Charax Spasinou, the largest city built by Alexander the Great, in southern Iraq near Basra at the modern-day site of Jebel Khayaber.




Among the most recent discoveries is a mosque built from mud dating back to the Umayyad period, about 1,400 years ago, uncovered by British Museum specialists in tandem with local experts. (AFP/File Photo)

Meanwhile, in the north of the country a French team in Mosul is continuing its maintenance of the mural of the Church of Mar Korkis, and working at sites in the city of Ashur, which include the royal cemetery, the Parthian palace, and Walter Andre’s palace.

At the Kirkuk Citadel, also in northern Iraq, the local archaeological authority is working with the Turkish government to properly maintain what some scholars believe is the tomb of the Prophet Daniel.

“We have found empires and states that are unbelievable and we, in this era, can barely imagine how powerful and advanced they were,” said Abdul-Razzaq.

“Iraq lies upon a massive archaeological trove of more than 20,000 sites. It is very hard to protect it all. That is why a lot of it has been stolen and destroyed. The items that have been stolen are in the thousands.

“In my opinion, I see it as a human tragedy because this archaeology is not only that of a specific nation or minority, but all of humanity.”

The looting and destruction did not begin in 2014 with the rise of Daesh, however. Abdul-Razzaq said Iraq’s heritage has been suffering as a result of conflict and official neglect for decades.

“In 2003, during the US invasion of Iraq, there was massive destruction at many archaeological sites and that was due to a lack of protection by the UN,” he said. “American forces protected oil fields, important ministries, defenses and security — not archaeology.”




An Iraqi guard shows broken jars in the ransacked and looted Iraq’s largest archeological museum in Baghdad in 2003. (AFP/File Photo)

The looting of Baghdad Museum was perhaps the most emblematic example of this neglect. For 36 hours, beginning on April 10, 2003, the museum was ransacked by thieves.

It was only later, when the extent of the damage became clear, that the US-led coalition began to prioritize the protection of Iraq’s antiquities.

“Six months after the US invasion, the Americans realized they had to act in order to protect archaeological sites from looting and destruction,” said Abdul-Razzaq.

“Through social activists, and after (Grand Ayatollah) Ali Al-Sistani issued a fatwa, they raised awareness among the people about protecting it. After that, the Iraqis were able to bring back many stolen archaeological items and people started protecting it.

“Nevertheless, we have lost, and are still missing, a massive number of items, even today. We are still searching for them.”

Aamir Al-Jumaili, a lecturer at the University of Mosul’s College of Archaeology for 20 years, said the destruction of Iraqi heritage has been going on even longer.

“We need to go back to 1991, not only 2003, to evaluate the destruction and loss we had,” he told Arab News. “During Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq lost many archaeological items through robbery, destruction and smuggling at museums in Iraq’s cities.”




A member of the Iraqi forces holds damaged artefacts inside the destroyed museum of Mosul in March, 2017 after they recaptured it from Daesh fighters. (AFP/File Photo)

Although authorities in the country have introduced legislation to protect antiquities, based on earlier laws first enacted in 1936 and strengthened in the 1970s, some experts believe the government should make the penalties for harming the nation’s heritage much more robust.

“In the past, the laws protecting archaeological sites and ancient history were stronger than we had in 2003 and 2014,” Ahmad Qasim Juma, an archaeology lecturer at the University of Mosul and a UNESCO consultant, told Arab News.

“Before 2003, if anyone did anything illegal to an ancient archaeological site, they would be killed by the government. After 2003, and until 2018, anyone would go to an archaeological site and start digging and researching without expert knowledge or a government permit. There are no strict punishments to stop them.”

The problem has been compounded by decades of government neglect and underfunding, dysfunctional administrations, and the continued presence of armed groups in the countryside, including militias backed by Iran.

“There are many different forces and militias controlling the country,” said Al-Shmari. “Sinjar contains foreign forces and militias that control it all. If you want to research or investigate, they don’t allow you to do it. Sinjar is one of the areas that is very hard to get to for archaeologists.”

He believes that investment by the central government could help turn the tide and, in the process, begin to reshape Iraq’s global image.

“We are not happy with the level of government support for Iraq’s antiquities and heritage. It is really low. If it was up to me, I would make Mosul one of the biggest tourist cities,” said Al-Shmari.




Assyrian artefacts originally from Mosul are displayed at Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad. (AFP/File Photo)

“Foreign workers and tourists face challenges and difficulties in terms of security and administration. We need to provide facilities and help them when they are coming to Iraq.

“We have the capabilities to make discoveries at archaeological sites but it requires funds and support to do that. It is the government’s responsibility to fund and support local students and researchers.”

Indeed, as Iraq begins to emerge from decades of crisis, experts believe an opportunity has presented itself to develop other aspects of its economy besides oil to embrace educational partnerships and perhaps even international tourism.

“Antiquities and tourism are one the biggest economic aspects that Iraq should focus on, as it mainly depends on oil, which can fall at any time in the future,” said Abdul-Razzaq. “If we wisely focus on antiquities and tourism, it will play a significant role.

“For example, we in Dhi Qar used to have one or maybe two tourists per month. Now we have three to four tourists per day coming to Dhi Qar. Iraq’s tourism sector can play a bigger role than oil.”

Abdul-Razzaq hopes that in the process, Iraqis will not only begin to feel proud of their history and shared identity but also turn the page on the violence and sectarian strife of recent decades.

“We have to take advantage of our ancient archaeology and history,” he said. “We are known as the cradle of human civilization and humanity. Everything began in Iraq: The first laws, writing, medicines and agriculture.

“I always focus on archaeological development because it will create national identity. We are just like a tree — we have very strong roots.”


Bahrain’s King, Egyptian President officially open Bahrain International Airport’s new passenger terminal

Bahrain’s King, Egyptian President officially open Bahrain International Airport’s new passenger terminal
Updated 48 min 45 sec ago

Bahrain’s King, Egyptian President officially open Bahrain International Airport’s new passenger terminal

Bahrain’s King, Egyptian President officially open Bahrain International Airport’s new passenger terminal
  • Passenger terminal is considered largest infrastructure project in the civil aviation sector in Bahrain
  • Construction started in April 2016 and was completed in 2020

DUBAI: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated the new passenger terminal at the Bahrain International Airport on Wednesday.
In the presence of Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, King Hamad and El-Sisi were welcomed by the airport’s Board of Directors Chairman Kamal bin Ahmed bin Mohammed, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister, Mohammed bin Thamer Al-Kaabi, and senior officials.
The new passenger terminal is considered the largest infrastructure project in the civil aviation sector in the kingdom and represents a qualitative leap in the field of services and airport facilities, Mohammed said.
Mohammed added the project was implemented in a record period of time that’s considered the fastest in building airports in the world.
The construction started in April 2016 and was completed in 2020.
“We have invested in national competencies and cadres during the implementation period, and we are proud today that they are the ones who operate and maintain the airport,” he said.
Mohammed pledged to spare no efforts in order to continue enhancing the kingdom’s status regionally and internationally.
The King and El-Sisi unveiled a commemorative plaque, thus officially opening the new passenger terminal at the Bahrain International Airport.
King Hamad, El-Sisi and Prince Salman toured the departure hall building and were informed about its various facilities.
The King expressed delight at El-Sisi’s participation in the inauguration of the new Bahrain International Airport, which confirms the depth of the solid Bahraini-Egyptian relations.
He affirmed that the new Bahrain International Airport will consolidate the kingdom’s status as a pioneering regional and international aviation sector hub, as well as support the national economy.
Moreover, the King congratulated the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors of the Bahrain Airport Company after naming the Bahrain International Airport as the ‘World’s Best New Airport’ at the Skytrax 2022 World Airport Awards held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in France.
 


Poll shows decline in popularity of Fatah movement

Poll shows decline in popularity of Fatah movement
Updated 29 June 2022

Poll shows decline in popularity of Fatah movement

Poll shows decline in popularity of Fatah movement
  • 33 percent of respondents said that they believe Hamas is more appropriate than Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas

RAMALLAH: A Palestinian public opinion poll in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah between June 22-25, has indicated a significant decline in the popularity of the Fatah movement and its leadership.

Similarly significant decreases in support for the two-state solution and the one-state democratic solution were also recorded, and an increase in support for a return to an armed intifada and support for the recent armed attacks inside Israel.

The majority of respondents, meanwhile, still see the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a national struggle over land and sovereignty, rather than a religious conflict.

The poll results indicate a shift in the internal balance of power in favor of Hamas and its leadership; 33 percent of respondents said that they believe Hamas is more appropriate than Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, to represent and lead the Palestinian people. In comparison, 23 percent said they think that Fatah is more appropriate.

Thirty-three percent say that if new presidential elections were held today and only two candidates, Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, stood, they would elect Abbas, while 55 percent said they would elect Haniyeh. 

If the competition was between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, though, Barghouti would receive 61 percent and Haniyeh 34 percent, and if President Abbas did not run for elections, Barghouti was the preferred candidate, as 30 percent chose him, followed by Haniyeh with 16 percent, then Mohammed Dahlan with 6 percent, then Yahya Al-Sinwar with 4 percent, then Hussein Al-Sheikh with 3 percent.

Twenty-three percent said they are satisfied with President Abbas’ performance, while 73 percent are dissatisfied, and 77 percent say they want the president to resign. Just 18 percent say they want him to stay in office.

In all, 79 percent of the public said that the Palestinian government does not play an influential role in addressing high prices and their effects. In comparison, 57 percent objected to President Abbas’s internal decisions, such as transferring powers to the General Secretariat of the Legislative Council for the Presidency of the National Council.

In addition, 71 percent said that they want to hold general Palestinian legislative and presidential elections soon in the Palestinian Territories. A majority of 54 percent, though, say they do not believe that elections will take place soon.

Just over a quarter of the Palestinian public say they want to emigrate due to the current political, security and economic conditions, and 86 percent believe there is corruption in the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. In comparison, 71 percent say that there is corruption in the institutions run by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and 59 percent believe that the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people.

Forty-two percent of the population of the West Bank say that people can criticize the PA without fear. In comparison, 54 percent say that this is not possible. In contrast, in the Gaza Strip, 62 percent say criticism of Hamas is not possible.

Meanwhile, 73 percent believe that the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh will not succeed in achieving reconciliation and uniting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In comparison, 21 percent think that it will succeed. Twenty-three percent believe the government will succeed in holding legislative and presidential elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In comparison, 69 percent say it will not succeed, and 75 percent expect that the government will not succeed in improving economic conditions.

Fifty-nine percent believe that individual shootings inside Israel by Palestinians not affiliated with political movements contribute to ending the occupation, and 50 percent believe armed struggle is the best way to establish an independent state. In comparison, 22 percent said it would be done through negotiations, and 21 percent said it would happen through peaceful popular resistance.

Seventy percent believe the two-state solution is no longer feasible due to settlement expansion, but 27 percent believe it is still achievable. Likewise, 77 percent say that the chances of establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel during the next five years are slim or very small, and 19 percent say that the chances are medium or high.

Sixty-nine percent say that under the current circumstances, they do not support the return of the Palestinian side to negotiations with Israel without preconditions. In comparison, 22 percent say they support this, 65 percent oppose returning to dialogue with the US, and 29 percent are in favor.

Seventy-five percent say that the PA should remain neutral in the war between Russia and Ukraine, with 14 percent backing Russia and 6 percent Ukraine.

Thirty-two percent said that the biggest problem facing the Palestinians is the occupation, while 23 percent said it was corruption. A further 17 percent said it was unemployment.

Ibrahim Melhem, the spokesperson for the PA, told Arab News: “Citizens’ satisfaction with the performance of the Palestinian government in particular stems from circumstances; sometimes there are good conditions that allow the government to provide the best services, and therefore it is fortunate to obtain citizens’ satisfaction, but sometimes the government faces a multi crisis, so the percentage of people satisfied by its performance declines.

“We make every effort to obtain reasonable satisfaction and provide the best services to citizens within what the government's available capabilities allow,” he added.

Amer Hamdan, a human rights activist, told Arab News: “I think the percentage in the poll results is logical and reasonable, because frankly, there is resentment against the performance of the PA, and people want to hold elections so that the factions can participate in the political process, but the PA continues to arrest political activists and continues to normalize with Israel.

“People in the PA in the West Bank enjoy economic, political and security privileges for themselves and their children. Therefore, it is not in their interest to organize elections,” Hamdan added.


Sale puts Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back in West Bank, kind of

Sale puts Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back in West Bank, kind of
Updated 56 min 55 sec ago

Sale puts Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back in West Bank, kind of

Sale puts Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back in West Bank, kind of
  • Unilever, which acquired Ben & Jerry’s, sold its business interest in Israel to a local company that would sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream throughout Israel and the West Bank.

JERUSALEM: A new agreement in Israel will put Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back on shelves in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank despite the ice cream maker’s protest of Israeli policies, according to Unilever, the company that owns the brand.
But it’s unclear if the product, which would only be sold with Hebrew and Arabic lettering, would still appeal to Ben & Jerry’s fans or have the support of the Vermont company, which has long backed liberal causes.
Israel hailed the move as a victory in its ongoing campaign against the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS aims to bring economic pressure to bear on Israel over its military occupation of lands the Palestinians want for a future state.
Unilever, which acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000 but distanced itself from the ice cream maker’s decision last year to halt sales in the territories, said Wednesday that it had sold its business interest in Israel to a local company that would sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream under its Hebrew and Arabic name throughout Israel and the West Bank.
When Ben & Jerry’s was sold, the companies agreed that the ice cream maker’s independent board would be free to pursue its social mission, including longstanding support for many liberal causes, including racial justice, climate action, LGBTQ rights and campaign finance reform.
But Unilever would have the final word on financial and operational decisions.
Unilever said it has “used the opportunity of the past year to listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter and believes this is the best outcome for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.”
In its statement, Unilever reiterated that it does not support the BDS movement. It said it was “very proud” of its business in Israel, where it employs around 2,000 people and has four manufacturing plants.
Unilever sold the business to Avi Zinger, the owner of Israel-based American Quality Products Ltd, who had sued Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s in March in a US federal court over the termination of their business relationship, saying it violated US and Israeli law.
Zinger’s legal team said the decision by Unilever was part of a settlement. He thanked Unilever for resolving the matter and for the “strong and principled stand” it has taken against BDS. “There is no place for discrimination in the commercial sale of ice cream,” Zinger said.
There was no immediate comment from Ben & Jerry’s. A spokeswoman pointed to the Unilever announcement.
But reaction to the new agreement arrived quickly.
Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch for Israel and the Palestinian territories, said Unilever seeks to undermine Ben & Jerry’s “principled decision” to avoid complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, which his organization says amount to apartheid, an allegation Israel adamantly rejects.
“It won’t succeed: Ben & Jerry’s won’t be doing business in illegal settlements. What comes next may look and taste similar, but, without Ben & Jerry’s recognized social justice values, it’s just a pint of ice cream.”
Israel hailed the decision and thanked governors and other elected officials in the United States and elsewhere for supporting its campaign against BDS. It said Unilever consulted its Foreign Ministry throughout the process.
“Antisemitism will not defeat us, not even when it comes to ice-cream,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. “We will fight delegitimization and the BDS campaign in every arena, whether in the public square, in the economic sphere or in the moral realm.”
BDS, an umbrella group supported by virtually all of Palestinian civil society, presents itself as a non-violent protest movement modeled on the boycott campaign against apartheid South Africa. It does not adopt an official position on how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved, and it officially rejects antisemitism.
Israel views BDS as an assault on its very legitimacy, in part because of extreme views held by some of its supporters. Israel also points to the group’s support for a right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees — which would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state — and BDS leaders’ refusal to endorse a two-state solution to the conflict.
Ben & Jerry’s decision was not a full boycott, and appeared to be aimed at Israel’s settlement enterprise. Some 700,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel annexed and considers part of its capital. Israel captured both territories in the 1967 Mideast war, and the Palestinians want them to be part of their future state.
Most of the international community views the settlements as a violation of international law. The Palestinians consider them the main obstacle to peace because they absorb and divide up the land on which a future Palestinian state would be established. Every Israeli government has expanded settlements, including during the height of the peace process in the 1990s.


Egypt and Oman agree to establish joint investment fund

Egypt and Oman agree to establish joint investment fund
Updated 29 June 2022

Egypt and Oman agree to establish joint investment fund

Egypt and Oman agree to establish joint investment fund
  • Two countries also sign agreements in multiple sectors, including the environment and education
  • Agreement comes during Egyptian President El-Sisi’s official visit to Oman 

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq have agreed on a study to establish a joint investment fund between their two countries, focused on feasible projects in various vital sectors.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the two leaders confirmed, during the official visit of the Egyptian president to Oman, that all relevant authorities would discuss investment opportunities in fields including energy and renewables, industry, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

During El-Sisi’s visit, Egypt and Oman signed two agreements, six memoranda of understanding, three executive programs and letters of cooperation in promoting competition, combating monopolies, promoting investment, developing exports, establishing and managing industrial zones, and protecting the environment, in addition to the mutual recognition of marine qualification certificates for navigators.

The governments of the two countries also signed a cooperation agreement in maritime transport and ports, and a cooperation agreement between Sultan Qaboos University and the Egyptian National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research.

El-Sisi affirmed “Egypt’s keenness during the coming period to develop economic and commercial cooperation relations with the Omani business community and companies, and develop joint investments, to contribute to supporting economic development … to maximize mutual interests and optimal utilization of available opportunities.”

During his meeting with representatives of the business community and heads of major companies in Oman, with the participation of a number of senior Omani officials and representatives, he stressed that “the qualitative leap that Egypt has witnessed recently in the various development sectors reflects the strong will of the state, with its governmental and popular components to achieve sustainable development, which will have positive repercussions on the strengthening of bilateral relations between Egypt and the Sultanate of Oman by opening doors to maximize existing Omani investments in various sectors.

“The distinguished fraternal relations between the two brotherly countries are the real umbrella for supporting efforts to develop joint cooperation in various economic fields through the availability of the necessary political will,” El-Sisi said.

The Egyptian leader also discussed the various investment opportunities in Egypt, foremost of which is the development axis of the Suez Canal Zone, which includes a number of major industrial and logistical areas, and which provides promising opportunities for Omani companies wishing to benefit from Egypt’s strategic location.

El-Sisi arrived in Oman on Monday and an official reception ceremony was held for him. 

Talks between the two leaders were held at Al-Alam Palace in the Omani capital Muscat and included delegations from both countries.

El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s “pride in the depth and strength of strategic relations with the Sultanate of Oman,” and its desire to “strengthen and diversify the frameworks of joint bilateral cooperation, and explore mechanisms to push them to broader horizons in various political, security, economic and commercial fields.”

He also praised “the existing level of coordination and unity of visions between the two brotherly countries on issues of common interest,” as well as the “Omani-Egyptian consensus on all regional and international issues.”

Ambassador Bassam Radi, official spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic, said El-Sisi and Sultan Haitham held an expanded session of talks, during which the sultan praised the “close and historical brotherly ties that unite the two countries.”


Egyptian president meets Bahraini king on 2nd stage of Gulf tour

Egyptian president meets Bahraini king on 2nd stage of Gulf tour
Updated 29 June 2022

Egyptian president meets Bahraini king on 2nd stage of Gulf tour

Egyptian president meets Bahraini king on 2nd stage of Gulf tour
  • Following his visit to Oman, El-Sisi met the Bahraini monarch to discuss regional issues and strategic cooperation
  • Egypt’s leader reiterated his country’s “keenness to develop cooperation with the Kingdom of Bahrain in all fields”

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held talks with Bahrain’s King Hamad on the second stage of his Gulf tour.

Following his visit to Oman, El-Sisi met the Bahraini monarch to discuss regional issues and strategic cooperation.

During their meeting — that was also attended by Bahrain’s Prime Minister Crown Prince Salman Al-Khalifa — at Sakhir Palace, in Manama, Egypt’s leader reiterated his country’s “keenness to develop cooperation with the Kingdom of Bahrain in all fields.”

Welcoming El-Sisi to the capital city, King Hamad said: “(Your visit) reflects the uniqueness of the distinguished bilateral relations and embodies the keenness of the two leaderships to communicate, coordinate, and consult on regional issues of common concern to serve the interests of the two countries and the issues of the Arab nation,” the Bahrain News Agency reported.

The king hailed the “efficiency” and contribution of the Egyptian community in his country toward the development of Bahrain and noted that the two nations had “a long history and a developed present,” while sharing a “constant aspiration to advance bilateral cooperation toward broader horizons.”

King Hamad pointed out that, due to El-Sisi’s approach, Egypt was witnessing, “a pioneering development renaissance and vital projects, and the qualitative achievements it has achieved in all fields.”

He also praised Egypt’s, “pivotal and firm role as a fundamental pillar of security and stability in the region and its appreciated efforts in supporting the nation’s causes and strengthening the course of work for the common Arab in facing the current challenges in the region.”

El-Sisi’s foreign tour comes after it was recently announced that US President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia in mid-July and while there would be attending a joint summit with Gulf state leaders.

The official spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said: “The current stage requires concerted efforts to protect Arab national security and confront attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Arab countries and destabilize them.”