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Sunday, 6 February 2022

El Sisi meets with Chinese president Xi amid Beijing’s Olympics diplomatic push

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics yesterday to discuss boosting economic, trade and industrial cooperation, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

On the agenda: The two leaders agreed to bolster cooperation on scientific research, the manufacture of pharmaceuticals including covid-19 vaccines as well as electric vehicles, health care, and IT, among other sectors. They also discussed the contribution of China’s Belt and Road Initiative to developing the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and recent developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute, the Palestinian cause, and crises in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Increasing China-Egypt ties: The “enhanced political trust” between the two countries comes as a model of “China-Arab, China-Africa and China-developing world solidarity,” the Associated Press cited Xi as saying, according to Chinese state media. Bilateral cooperation has seen Egypt manufacture China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac covid vaccines, and Chinese involvement in El Nasr Automotive’s plans to produce EVs with an international partner. The company is currently in “advanced talks” with two Chinese companies to replace Chinese company Dongfeng after talks fell through, and could sign an agreement sometime this quarter.

El Sisi also met with Qatar’s Tamim bin Hamad on the sidelines of the opening ceremony. It’s the third time the two leaders have met since the thawing of what had been icy relations between the two countries about a year ago.

China’s pivot toward Russia stole most of the headlines at the Olympics as Xi met with several heads of state yesterday, part of a diplomatic push by China to coincide with the opening ceremony amid rising tensions with the US. In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Xi said China opposes further enlargement of Nato — tacitly backing Putin’s stance on the escalating Ukrainian crisis. The US has led a boycott of the games with several other, predominantly Western, countries over China’s human rights record. The story is everywhere today, from Reuters to the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

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