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Exploring the Dynamics of Pakistan-Iran Relations

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President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meet on the border in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Iran on May 18, 2023. (Photo via Iranian presidency)

Pakistan and Iran, two close neighbors in South Asia and the Middle East, respectively, have long-standing relationships. Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, the two countries have had a modern relationship that has been marked by a combination of collaboration and complexity. Historical, geographical, economic, and religious issues have all had an impact on their bilateral relations. This article explores the dynamics between Pakistan and Iran, illuminating the significant factors that have influenced their ties over time. The relationship has recently been characterized by both cooperation and competition.

The shared security concerns between Pakistan and Iran are one of the primary factors fostering cooperation. Both nations have an interest in battling terrorism and extremism because they are both in complex regions. They have collaborated on a variety of subjects, such as commerce, energy, and infrastructure, as well as efforts to advance regional stability.

But the relationship between Iran and Pakistan also faces certain difficulties. The conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest obstacles. There have occasionally been conflicts between Pakistan and Iran as a result of both nations competing for influence in the region. Despite the rapprochement between the two states, still both countries are competing for power in the region. Additionally, there are considerable religious distinctions between the two nations, which occasionally causes conflict.

The evolving international environment has presented new challenges and opportunities for Pakistan-Iran relations. The withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, has created uncertainty in the region.

The Iran Nuclear Deal,, is an agreement reached in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany). The agreement was designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons by limiting its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018. This has led to increased tensions between Iran and the West, which could have a negative impact on Pakistan-Iran relations.

Positive changes have also occurred, though, and they may contribute to the relationship’s improvement. The two nations have cooperated on a number of topics, including the Afghan peace process and the fight against terrorism, because they both have an interest in fostering regional stability. Moreover, Pakistan and Iran’s cooperation is being increasingly recognized as being necessary for ensuring regional security.

Regional Security and Stability

Regional security and stability are now more crucial than ever because of how the world is changing. In terms of terrorism, radicalism, and the unstable conditions in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Iran have similar worries. In order to handle these shared security problems, increased coordination and intelligence sharing between the two nations is now necessary. Additionally, Pakistan and Iran try to negotiate regional issues in order to maintain peace and keep themselves out of larger crises while geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and South Asia persist.

Geopolitical Shifts and Balancing Act

The relationship between Pakistan and Iran is made more complex by the diverse character of geopolitics. Iran, a key role in the Middle East, has strained ties with the West, particularly the United States, on issues including its nuclear program and international sanctions. On the other hand, Pakistan continues to maintain strategic alliances with the US and Saudi Arabia, which has occasionally resulted in differences in their stances on regional and international matters. Both nations must exercise skillful diplomacy and wise decision-making in order to navigate these geopolitical complications.

Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia

The geopolitical situation is made more intriguing by the triangular interactions between Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have always had close connections, whereas Iran sees Saudi Arabia as a foe in the area. This puts Pakistan in a difficult balancing act as it tries to maintain close ties with Saudi Arabia without upsetting Iran. It takes diplomatic dexterity to navigate this delicate triangle in order to prevent tensions from rising and harming regional security.

Afghanistan, A Common Interest

Given their common border and the security issues it poses for both neighbors, Pakistan and Iran’s relations with Afghanistan are greatly influenced by this instability. Cross-border movements of terrorists, the smuggling of weapons, and illegal immigration are made easier by the porous border, raising worries about everyone’s security. Additionally, both countries have faced resource constraints and humanitarian issues as a result of the flood of Afghan refugees. Although Pakistan and Iran both have an interest in stabilizing Afghanistan to address these security and humanitarian challenges, differences in their regional engagement strategies and approaches to resolving conflicts can occasionally cause their bilateral relations to become strained. In order to balance their geopolitical interests and work towards regional peace, Pakistan and Iran must continue to manage the volatility in Afghanistan.

Military Cooperation

A complicated and developing facet of Pakistan and Iran’s bilateral relations has been their military cooperation. Over the years, both nations have cooperated militarily in a variety of ways, influenced by regional security dynamics and shared objectives.

Border Security: Border security has been one of the main areas of military cooperation between Pakistan and Iran. Due to the length and porousness of the shared border, problems with smuggling, illegal immigration, and cross-border militant activity have arisen. They have implemented cooperative border patrols and intelligence-sharing channels to solve these problems.

Counterterrorism Initiatives: Pakistan and Iran have worked together to combat terrorist threats coming from their common border area. Both countries have shared concerns about terrorist organizations operating in border regions, which has resulted in intelligence sharing and cooperative military operations.

Military Exercises: The armed forces of Pakistan and Iran often engage in joint training exercises. In domains like counterterrorism and disaster management, these exercises seek to improve cooperation, increase interoperability, and exchange best practices.

Defense industry cooperation: Through their domestic defense industries, Pakistan and Iran both tried to improve their defense capabilities. In the design and manufacture of military systems and equipment, there have been examples of technology transfer and cooperation.

Maritime Security: Pakistan and Iran have a common interest in maintaining maritime security and protecting regional shipping lanes because of their close proximity to the Arabian Sea. To improve maritime cooperation and prepare for potential security challenges, they took part in naval exercises.

Regional security concerns have been raised by Pakistan and Iran, particularly the state of affairs in Afghanistan and the larger Middle East. A crucial component of their military cooperation has been communication and coordination on issues relating to regional security.

Recently in July Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir visited Iran, the visit reaffirms the bilateral cooperation among the two states, and reiterated commitment to expand military education, defense and security cooperation.

Balochistan; A Factor in Pakistan-Iran Relation

Balochistan’s strategic position and intricate geopolitical dynamics have historically played a crucial role in affecting relations between Pakistan and Iran. Both Pakistan and Iran have expressed concern about Baluchistan’s security issues as a result of the province’s shared borders with both nations. The region has seen the activity of numerous militant and separatist groups, which has resulted in cross-border terrorism and put both countries’ stability and sovereignty at risk. To fight these dangers and ensure border security, Pakistan and Iran have demonstrated a greater willingness to work together on security issues by engaging in cooperative military operations and intelligence-sharing projects.

Economic Prospects

Economic cooperation is a driving force behind the development of strong international alliances between nations. A strong economic link between Pakistan and Iran is made possible by their shared history and close proximity. Exploring opportunities for cooperation and mutual gain becomes essential as both countries work to realize their enormous economic potential.

Pakistan-Iran economic relations are based on the trade of energy. For Pakistan’s energy requirements, Iran, which has abundant oil and gas reserves, is the best option. The project to build the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline intends to increase Pakistan’s energy security by supplying natural gas to that country. Implementation of the project has been complicated by international sanctions on Iran. Islamabad’s temporarily halted pipeline project  earlier this month, according to the media reports the decision appears to be influenced by United States pressure.who has imposed sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program. According to the agreement if Pakistan backs from the commitment it has to pay 18 billion dollars as a fine. But to deal with this situation the two sides are in negotiations to reach a solution which is suitable for the sides, Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Reza Amiri Moghadam gave these remarks during a seminar held by Islamabad Policy Research Institute.

Recently, the two sides have agreed to do the barter trade on specific goods including petroleum and gas to maximize the trade potential. The Border Sustenance Markets Project, which was inaugurated on 18th May, 2023 by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, gives locals and the nation’s citizens optimism for thriving enterprises and increased revenue.

Chabahar and Gwadar Port

Gwadar, a Pakistani port city, is not too far from Chabahar. The two ports of Gwadar and Chabahar should grow as sisters rather than as competitors, according to Pakistan. By increasing communication via railroads, roads, and maritime ties, the two ports should complement one another in fostering trade in the area. Both Gwadar and Chahbahar’s economies would benefit from trade cooperation, which would also provide job possibilities.

For Pakistan-Iran ties, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a centerpiece project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is important. Through the construction of commerce and infrastructure corridors, the CPEC aims to link the Pakistani port of Gwadar with China’s Xinjiang province. In the meantime, India’s participation in the development of Iran’s Chabahar Port seeks to balance the impact of the CPEC and improve India’s access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

The geopolitical nexus between Chabahar and Gwadar, where the interests of numerous nations converge and cross, is intricate and fascinating. Both the strategically positioned deep-sea ports of Chabahar in Iran and Gwadar in Pakistan have the potential to significantly alter regional connectivity and trade. Various global entities, each striving to maximize their own interests and power, have shown interest in the development and use of these ports.

The intricate interaction of geopolitical interests in the area is reflected in the Chabahar-Gwadar nexus. Through these ports, Iran, Pakistan, India, and China are attempting to pursue their economic and strategic objectives, making it difficult to navigate the multiple interests that are there. To make sure that the development of Chabahar and Gwadar Ports contributes to regional wealth and stability, diplomatic dexterity, constructive dialogue, and practical cooperation are crucial. The Chabahar-Gwadar nexus can be a catalyst for regional connectivity and economic integration, generating reciprocal advantages for all parties involved, by acknowledging the possibility for win-win outcomes and finding common ground.

The changing global landscape presents opportunities and challenges for relations between Pakistan and Iran. Both nations must modify their approaches to foreign policy as regional and global dynamics evolve in order to safeguard their interests and promote collaboration. Building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship will depend on managing geopolitical complexity, improving economic links, and enhancing regional security through counterterrorism collaboration. Additionally, encouraging intercultural dialogue and people-to-people interactions will promote mutual understanding between Pakistan and Iran, opening the path for a stronger and more fruitful collaboration in the face of a constantly shifting external environment.

Aimen Jamil's intellectual curiosity lies at the intersection of Middle East and Pakistan Foreign Policy. She can be reached at Pursuing International Relations as her majors.

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Saudi-Israeli deal would be a gamechanger but not for the reasons discussed

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A Saudi-Israeli agreement to establish diplomatic relations involving enhanced US commitments to Gulf security could be a game-changer for great power rivalry in the Middle East.

To be sure, US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu face formidable obstacles in paying the price tag Saudi Arabia puts on the normalisation of relations with Israel.

In return for relations, Saudi Arabia has demanded legally binding security commitments from the United States, support for its nuclear programme, and unfettered access to sophisticated weaponry – conditions that would be challenged in Congress.

The kingdom has also linked diplomatic relations to ambiguously defined progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a demand Mr. Netanyahu will have difficulty meeting with his current coalition government, the most ultra-nationalist and ultra-conservative in his country’s history.

Speaking to Fox News, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described the Palestinian issue as “very important” and one that “we need to solve.”

Mr. Bin Salman shied away from spelling out what a solution would entail beyond saying he hoped it “will ease the life of the Palestinians.”

Within days of the interview, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan told the United Nations General Assembly and a webinar normalising relations with Israel would require a plan to establish an independent Palestinian state.

On the first visit to the West Bank by a senior Saudi official since the creation of the Palestine Authority in 1994, Ambassador Nayef al-Sudairi, the kingdom’s first envoy to the Palestinian entity, said Saudi Arabia was “working towards establishing a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Palestinian officials told their Saudi counterparts that as part of the kingdom’s agreement to recognise the Jewish state, Israel would have to stop building new settlements, expand Palestinian control over security and construction in the West Bank, accept full Palestinian membership of the United Nations, and consent to the opening of a Palestine Liberation Organisation office in Washington and a US consulate in East Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, senior Israeli officials asserted that Saudi Arabia was merely paying lip service to the Palestinian issue in talks about Israel.

A senior Palestinian official conceded “that what is being discussed includes elements that are less than statehood. We’re talking about a pathway to getting there.”

The obstacles haven’t prevented Messrs. Bin Salman and Netanyahu from raising heightened expectations recently by suggesting significant progress in agreeing on the terms of a US-Saudi-Israeli deal.

Speaking to Fox News, Mr. Bin Salman said his country and Israel were getting “closer” daily to establish formal relations. Mr. Netanyahu was equally ebullient at the UN General Assembly.

Largely overlooked in public discussions about a possible Saudi-Israeli normalisation of relations is the fact that the Saudi demands signal that the kingdom, like the United Arab Emirates, which is requesting an “ironclad” security arrangement with the United States, prefers the US rather than China to be its security partner for the foreseeable future.

“Isn’t it interesting? When you look at MbS’ asks from us, they start with he wants a defense treaty with us… What that tells you is that at the end of the day, they don’t think there is anybody else they can rely upon if they really stranded,” said Dennis Ross, a former US Middle East peace negotiator. Mr. Ross was referring to Mr. Bin Salman by his initials.

Former US National Security Council official Kirsten Fontenrose argued that Mr. Bin Salman had created a situation where he could forcefully argue for a binding security arrangement even if efforts to forge a deal with Israel failed.

“MbS looks at this and says, ‘Right now, it looks like the sticking point is Israeli politics. So, even if I don’t get this, I look like the good guy’,” Ms. Fontenrose said.

I expect there will be pressure from the Saudis moving forward, even if we don’t get normalisation, to follow through… (saying), ‘Well, we have arrived so closely on some of these ideas on a US security pact, we’ve done so much work on civilian nuclear cooperation, why don’t we just continue this?” Ms. Fontenrose added.

Even so, it is hard to believe that Saudi Arabia and the UAE think they can retain the freedom to hedge their bets and expand relations with China, as well as Russia, particularly regarding the Ukraine war and Western sanctions, in ways that the United States would see as threatening its national security and undermining its policies.

While the United States would likely not disrupt the Gulf states’ economic and trade ties with China, the Gulf’s largest trading partner, it would limit Saudi and UAE cooperation with China on geopolitical issues, nuclear development, technology collaboration, and arms acquisition.

“The administration is asking for some things from the Saudis. They want them to continue to peg oil to the dollar, there was some talk that they may allow the Chinese to buy oil with the Chinese currency… What is being asked here is not to stop their commercial relationship but to create boundaries in some of the high-tech areas… It’s a two-way street,” Mr. Ross, the former US negotiator, said.

The kingdom “cannot have it both ways. If it wants that kind of commitment from the United States, it has to line up with the United States… If our security relationship with Saudi Arabia is to be deepened because the Saudis want it, then there are certain obligations that come with that,” said former US diplomat and prominent analyst Martin Indyk.

Undoubtedly, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will test how far they can push the envelope if they come to a security understanding with the United States.

Ultimately, however, they are likely also to find that a security arrangement would, at least in the Middle East, shift the geopolitical US-China power balance in the United States’ favour.

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Suez Canal: Enhancing alignment between Belt and Road and Egypt Vision 2030

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The location of the Suez Canal Economic Zone plays an effective role at the heart of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, ensuring a permanent strategic partnership between the two sides, to enhance the concept of the role of economic corridors and ports in development for the benefit of all parties. This brings us to a fundamental point, which is the importance of integration between ports and industrial areas, such as the Suez Canal, as the most prominent model for this, as a model of cooperation that is the most distinguished in the entire world within the framework of the relationship between the Suez Canal corridor and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, in order to advance the development wheel for all its parties, and open endless horizons in front of various investments. We find that the Suez Canal is a major gateway for Chinese products to enter African, European, Arab, and American markets, due to its strategic location on the Red Bahrain and the Mediterranean, passing through the Suez Canal. Therefore, it serves the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, and this will be greatly reflected after the completion of development work in the Port of Sokhna in Suez, which will become one of the pivotal ports in the Red Sea and a fulcrum for serving international trade within the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

  The Suez Canal is considered the main station and the main sea corridor for the sea route of the Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on linking the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, in addition to the land link between China and Europe, given that the sea road of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative extends from the (South China to the Strait of Mule, the Indian Ocean, the Horn of Africa, the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, all the way to the Suez Canal).

   For this reason, the State of China, in light of the globalization system and the new global economic order that it is trying to strengthen to serve the interests of mainly African and developing countries, seeks to launch many global initiatives, the most important of which is the “Belt and Road Initiative”, which allows it to cooperate with its strategic partners within the framework of that. The initiative, led by Egypt, and within this framework, China officially signed a document of cooperation with the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and participation in the establishment of many industries and infrastructure projects cooperation between China and Egypt through the Egyptian Suez Canal corridor within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative does not only aim for the material part related to investments and projects, but also aims to build human values, which the initiative aims to build a better world that shares those values ​​and seeks to build international relations based on peace.  Achieving comprehensive development for all sectors, as well as working to bring peace instead of violence. As the world seeks to achieve comprehensive development, it either takes place within a framework of cooperation or pursues an aggressive policy that does not build but rather destroys entire civilizations.         

  The Egyptian Suez Canal plays a major role in increasing cooperation in the areas of trade exchange, localization of industry, and the transfer of Chinese technology and energy to Egypt.  As the main goal of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is to support the economy and intra-state trade between countries, facilitate trade, and extend communications lines, stressing that the initiative includes extending cable, communications, Internet, and maritime digitization lines, explaining that Egypt is one of the countries in the world through which most submarine cables, digitization, and digital pass. Egypt represents a very important number and has its weight in the initiative, taking into account the Suez Canal, and the importance of the geographical location, as it connects the east to the west and the north to the south, in addition to the Suez Canal axis, as it represents an added value to the Suez Canal as well as the initiative, which relies heavily on the Suez Canal, in addition to  Establishment of the Chinese industrial zone and the Russian economic zone in the Suez Canal. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative relies primarily on the concept of economic corridors for development, given that the Suez Canal is the most important and prominent international shipping corridor that directly links the three continents to which the initiative countries belong the economic zone surrounding the Suez Canal has been planned according to a future vision that takes into account  Taking into account the various dimensions of the expected future development in maritime transport traffic and rates of international trade.

   Here, Egypt and China can cooperate on the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in many ways. The Belt and Road Initiative differs from other economic blocs in that it is the first of its kind to link trade with development.  Egypt is also an important partner in building the Belt and Road. The Chinese side is keen to enhance the alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and Egypt’s Vision 2030. China supports the Egyptian side in advancing the pace of industrialization, enhancing scientific and technological capacity, and raising the level of development, in addition to deepening cooperation in the field of security and law enforcement between the two countries, in a way that maintains the common security to them. The Chinese side is also keen to enhance coordination and cooperation with the Egyptian side in international affairs to work together to support and implement multilateralism, reject the tendency of unilateralism and bullying, and ensure the correct direction of global governance reforms. The Egyptian side plays an effective role within the framework of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum and the China-Africa Cooperation Forum.

  The list of Chinese companies investing in Egypt includes Sino Tharwa Drilling, Shamal International Petroleum, TEDA Investment, Jushi Egypt for Fiberglass Manufacturing, Huawei Technology, and Conco Technology. In addition to a large number of projects implemented by some Chinese companies under the direct contracting system, among the most prominent Chinese projects being implemented are: the Financial and Business District project in the New Administrative Capital, The TEDA-Suez zone for Chinese-Egyptian economic cooperation and the electric train project in 10th of Ramadan City. In addition to financing (Exim Bank of China) the implementation of a railway project to connect Cairo to the New Administrative Capital at a cost of more than one and a half billion dollars.

  Therefore, China seeks to expand its investments in the Suez Canal region, especially as an important axis of development. The region also represents an important link and plays a prominent role in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, especially in light of the implementation of the ambitious development plan aimed at establishing development projects in the Suez Canal axis, including logistical services in a way that represents a good opportunity for cooperation between the two sides in many fields, especially technology and infrastructure in approximately 6 ports and two integrated regions, in addition to the role of the Suez Canal axis in enhancing Chinese-Egyptian economic cooperation, and making Egypt a starting point for the Arab and African markets, by virtue of Egypt’s membership in the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement and the COMESA Economic Community of Eastern and Southern African Countries.

 The Suez Canal axis has special importance within the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, especially in light of the services provided by the Suez Canal Economic Zone, to support global trade movement through its ports, most notably ship bunkering services with green fuel, in addition to the role of Chinese companies in the region’s ports and the Suez Canal,  such as: (Hutchison, COSCO and CMA Alliance), which is responsible for managing and operating one of the berths in the port of Ain Sokhna in the Suez Canal axis, with investments estimated at more than 600 million dollars, within the framework of the effective role that the Suez Canal plays in attracting Chinese investments in the sectors of financial services, logistics, and ports.  Therefore, cooperation between many Chinese provinces and cities and the Suez Canal Economic Zone has been strengthened in this context. The Chinese company TEDA aims to promote its industrial zone in Ain Sokhna, in addition to investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone to various Chinese companies, and to enhance cooperation with the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Egypt as an economic ally of great importance to Chinese investments.

   In order to strengthen Chinese-Egyptian cooperation within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, China seeks to expand the base of cooperation with Egypt, so that it will be a starting point for Chinese-African cooperation, and Chinese participation in enhancing the economic development and political stability of the countries of the continent, especially in light of the material globalization system and the inability of the peoples.  Which is still at the beginning of the development process of keeping pace with the global movement and the rapid transition towards globalization, and therefore the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative targets developing countries in order to work to enhance their economic cooperation and raise the standard of living for the peoples of those regions.

   Accordingly, we find that all the elements of success are available for the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, as it started from a comprehensive development concept that addresses emerging and emerging economies, and aims to enhance cooperation with many international financial institutions, as well as economic blocs and organizations, such as: (ASEAN, BRICS, the European Union, the World Trade Organization), and others.

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The Meeting of Sisi with Li Shi

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The meeting between Egyptian President “Abdel Fattah El-Sisi” and a high-level Chinese delegation, headed by Li Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, came as a confirmation of the Chinese-Egyptian efforts to work together within the framework of the principle of mutual benefit between the two parties and the common destiny of humanity established by the Chinese President “Xi Jinping”.  The importance of the visit of the senior Chinese official in the Communist Party “Li Shi” comes to present the Chinese side’s point of view to Egyptian President “El-Sisi” regarding the joint agreement between China and Egypt to contribute positively to confronting the challenges facing the international community, especially developing and African countries, and to enhance joint international collective action towards a shift to international multipolarity away from the concept of American hegemony, in a way that preserves international peace and stability, and pushes towards reforming the international financial governance system.

  Also, the significance and timing of this visit by the Chinese official, Li Shi, and his meeting with President “Abdel Fattah El-Sisi” prior to President El-Sisi’s participation in the “Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” summit in the capital (Beijing) at the end of October 2023, it carries more than one political connotation, whether at the bilateral Egyptian-Chinese level, or for this summit in which hundreds of heads of state and government around the world participate. Therefore, this visit by “Li Qi” comes in preparation for the participation of Egypt and President “El-Sisi” in the Chinese international Belt and Road Conference, including… It has positive effects and great gains for the benefit of Cairo and Beijing in various fields, especially the economic field.

 During his visit to Cairo and his meeting with President “El-Sisi”, Chinese Communist Party official “Li Shi” confirmed the readiness of the Chinese side to work with the Egyptian side in order to implement the agreements reached by the presidents of the two countries (El- Sisi and Xi Jinping) in a good way, and to consolidate mutual trust at the political level and enhance  Aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with Egypt’s Vision 2030, expanding practical cooperation, intensifying communication, cooperation and coordination in international and regional affairs, and working together to defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and advancing the democratization of international relations.  Especially with China’s full understanding of the situation in the Middle East with the complex changes and turmoil it is witnessing, which has negatively affected security and development in the Middle East region, hence China’s keenness to launch (the five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East), which is an initiative that focuses on maintaining stability and bringing peace to the region.       

  Here, the visit of Chinese official “Li Shi” to Cairo comes as a culmination of the joint Chinese-Egyptian efforts to achieve many positive results regarding the joint construction of the Belt and Road.  Especially since Chinese-Egyptian relations have become a model of solidarity, cooperation, mutual benefit and mutual gain between China and Egypt and between Arab and African countries and developing countries under the leadership of the presidents of the two countries.  The Chinese side also confirmed China’s readiness to work with the Egyptian side to implement the agreements reached by the presidents of the two countries (El-Sisi and Xi Jinping) in a good manner, consolidate mutual trust at the political level, and enhance the alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and Egypt’s Vision 2030 to expand practical cooperation and intensifying communication, cooperation and coordination in international and regional affairs, and working together to defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and advancing the democratization of international relations, by emphasizing that China’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council and its being the largest developing country in the world serves Egyptian goals and interests.  Egypt is also a large Arab and African country and an important emerging economy, so under the current circumstances, the strategic and comprehensive nature of Chinese-Egyptian relations is highlighted.

 It is necessary to analyze the temporal context of the visit of Chinese official “Li Shi” to Cairo, which stems from China’s understanding of the Egyptian role in networking the issues of the African continent and regional and international powers, with China’s view of Egypt as China’s gateway to the African continent, and this view is a constant feature in Chinese political discourse in  In light of the fact that Egypt was one of the first African countries to recognize China.  Egypt also adopts an integrated strategy for development and regional integration of the African continent, in addition to maintaining fruitful and close cooperation relations with all international partners, including China, in a way that serves this Egyptian strategy, especially in the fields of transportation and infrastructure within the framework of its projects with the Chinese side in the Suez Canal axis and the New Administrative Capital.

  Here, President “El-Sisi” always affirms Egypt’s desire to learn from China’s successful experience in development, align its development plan with the Belt and Road Initiative, and deepen bilateral cooperation in a wide range of fields.  In addition to President El-Sisi’s keenness to attend Belt and Road forums for international cooperation, which reflects Egypt’s desire to actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, which also represents a common voice for African countries to achieve mutual benefit and common development.  Egypt and China succeeded in integrating the Egyptian road and port network within the Belt and Road Initiative, which prompted the development and operation of the industrial zone in Ain Sokhna near the Suez Canal, called the TEDA Chinese Industrial Zone.    

  The joint meetings between high-level delegations between Egypt and China stem from Egypt’s interest in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and its projects in Cairo, as the Chinese initiative addresses vital sectors and areas of priority for Egypt within the framework of Egypt’s Vision 2030. Therefore, President Sisi’s visits to China, which reached six visits to China in five years, indicate the tireless effort of President “El-Sisi” and the practical and presidential diplomacy of Egypt, as President “El-Sisi” has become a friend of the Chinese people in a short time as he seeks to create a new and better future for Egypt within the framework of its relationship with China.

  Here we can reach the conclusion that the tireless efforts of the Chinese and Egyptian sides within the framework of joint construction of the Belt and Road strengthen the rapprochement, understanding and mutual benefit of the two open and peace-loving countries.  For example, the Suez Zone for economic and trade cooperation between China and Egypt has reaped great benefits, as it has hosted more than 77 companies with huge investments exceeding one billion dollars.  The zone established by the Chinese TEDA company also contributed to creating more than 30,000 job opportunities for the Egyptian side, in addition to achieving tax revenues worth one billion Egyptian pounds for the Egyptian side.  In addition to China’s major role in the construction projects of the New Administrative Capital and the launch of major infrastructure projects in Egypt, where Chinese companies always play a distinguished role, as a result of the mutual trust between the two countries. Therefore, Chinese President “Xi Jinping” is always keen to invite President “El-Sisi” to attend the international summits hosted by Beijing, such as the BRICS summit and the G20 summit, in addition to the China-Africa summit, based on China’s appreciation of the regional and international standing it enjoys.  Egypt, as well as Egyptian interest in relations with Beijing, in light of Egypt’s trend towards strengthening its relations with important powers in East Asia, especially China.

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