The Sultanate of Oman and the Arab Republic of Egypt enjoy centuries-old civilizational, cultural, and economic linkages built on people-to-people connections. These well-established historic relations are a strong model that is not affected by any regional or international political transformation.
The history of Omani-Egyptian relations, which dates back 3,500 years, started with cultural communication between Omanis and Pharaonic families. Omani frankincense played a pivotal role in that unique communication, which continues unabated till today.
Indeed, Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut visited Dhofar on a historical trip, the details of which were recorded on the walls of the Pharaonic temples.
Oman's support for Egypt during the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace process, which resulted in Egypt's recapture of the rest of its land in Sinai, is perhaps one of the most well-known political positions between Oman and Egypt. The people of Egypt still remember with appreciation and respect the remarkable historic decision of the Omani leadership.
Oman has consistently supported Egypt on several issues, including the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, in which the Sultanate stressed the need to reach an agreement that meets the interests of all the parties.
At the political level, Egypt and Oman have strong political relations. There is continuous consultation and coordination between the two countries on bilateral, regional, and international issues. Omani officials at all levels appreciate the role played by Egypt in resolving conflicts for the sake of the people of the region.
The foundations of the current diplomatic relations that extend for over half a century, were laid by the late Sultan Qaboos with his trust in the leadership of Egypt and the crucial role that the country could play in the region.
And the late Sultan maintained good relations with Egypt, during the era of President Hosni Mubarak, and there were many visits to Cairo and Muscat by the two leaders. Significantly, the ramifications of the relations are not limited to one side!
Recent years have witnessed an important movement represented in high-level official visits between the two countries, and indeed many activities have begun to operate in both countries.
The visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to Egypt following an invitation from President Abdul Fattah El Sisi assumes great importance given the current political and economic challenges in both Arab and international arenas.
The visit comes as a result of the fact that there has been real momentum in the relations between Oman and Egypt as a result of the volume of mutual visits between the two great leaders in the two countries.
During the visit, the leaders of the two countries are expected to discuss important matters including ways to boost cooperation between Egypt and Oman so that both countries can fulfill their desired joint goals. They will also debate the latest developments that occurred both internationally and regionally across the Middle East.
The first visit of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the Sultanate in February 2018, established a new phase of solid relations between the two countries and their brotherly peoples and opened broad horizons to enhance cooperation in all fields.
In June 2022, the President again visited the Sultanate following which several agreements including those related to maritime navigation, investment, trade and industry, combating monopoly, providing means for free competition and development, industry and investment promotion, as well as environmental issues, vocational and technical training, raising human capabilities, and higher education were signed between the two countries.
Several Omani delegations have visited Egypt during the past two years to learn about the Egyptian experience in the field of establishing modern cities and in the tourism field. In January 2022, Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs paid an official visit to the Sultanate following an invitation from Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, Foreign Minister of Oman.
The two sides reviewed the existing bilateral cooperation relations between the two countries and expressed their deep satisfaction at the high level that these relations had reached. There were also visits by the Minister of Housing and the Minister of Tourism, about the industrial, logistical, and food industries.
Oman considers Egypt as an important channel for export to the neighbouring African countries. Omani products could also benefit from the Egyptian market to access the COMESA trade group comprising 21 countries.
Officials from both countries also meet constantly to review and activate the commercial relations between the two countries within the framework of the Great Arab trade agreement.
According to the directives of the two leaderships, officials from both countries are working jointly to develop relations in various fields. This move is reflected in economic, commercial, and investment fields.
A new phase in ties
Oman has always been a pioneer in its endeavors with Egypt to build bridges of friendship and cooperation arising from the foresight of a vision for developments in the world in general, and the region in particular.
The depth of relations in all fields between the two countries was a motive for coordination between them in the political, strategic, and security fields, and consultation and understanding existed between the two countries on regional and international issues.
In the Arab political arena, the two countries always seek a policy of resolving all differences through dialogue and negotiation. They also call for peace and stability regionally and internationally but with an important reservation based on not giving up any of the Arab rights in general and the Palestinian ones in particular.
Therefore, the two states have a vision aimed at providing the maximum possible support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights.
Today, Oman has distinguished itself as a player that can maintain strong working relationships with countries across the Middle East. Oman’s focus on balanced foreign policy, conflict resolution, and skillful mediation makes it unique among Arab governments.
Oman’s active neutrality has served the country to facilitate dialogue and negotiations between post-1979 Iran and various Arab and Western states too, such as Egypt, Iraq, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Oman has maintained this approach to foreign policy under His Majesty Sultan Haitham’s leadership.
Over the past few decades, Egypt has realized major improvements in human development, including expanding access to education, reducing the burden of communicable diseases, and increasing life expectancy.
Egypt is currently one of the largest economies in the Arab world and home to one of the fastest-growing middle classes in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Bilateral cooperation in all economic, trade, and investment fields would open new qualitative horizons for cooperation between the two brotherly countries. The march of Omani-Egyptian relations continues to glow in the light of the renewed renaissance, thanks to the royal patronage of His Majesty Sultan Haitham and President El-Sisi.