|Egyptian Ambassador to Vietnam Mahmoud Hassan Nayel.
On July 23, Egypt commemorates the Revolution of 1952, celebrating its 69th anniversary this year, the revolution which became the key event that shaped the modern political history in Egypt and significantly influenced other countries in different parts of the world, especially those who were struggling to achieve their independence and stand against colonialist and imperialist domination. The first Egyptian republic was established to soon assume a leading role among developing nations, which was manifested in being one of the central founding nations of important international movements and regional organizations, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), today’s African Union (AU).
A few years earlier, the historical revolutionary leader and President of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh visited Egypt. Having the vision and foresight, he realized that Egypt and Vietnam share common human values, cultural heritage, and the aspirations for independence and development. He believed that the similarities between the two nations, whose ancient civilizations had developed around river deltas, with all socio-cultural implications of this fact, can embrace the seeds of a long and fruitful relationship based on mutual understanding, and deep respect, the belief that was later reflected in his teachings, which have guided the Vietnamese leaders ever since.
In Bandung conference 1955, a milestone in establishing the Non-Aligned Movement, the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and Ho Chi Minh met to contribute, with other influential leaders, to uphold the efforts of the struggling nations, seeking national unity and independence, and In 1963 the guiding vision of the relations was materialized, in the modern sense, by establishing diplomatic relations between Egypt and Vietnam, and both countries continued their diligent quest to ensure an international order characterized by equality, justice, and respect for international law.
|Vietnam's Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) receives Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi during his state visit to Vietnam in September 2017. (Photo: VNA)
In this connection, I find it enlightening to refer to the article by H.E Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam on the occasion of the 131st birthday of President Ho Chi Minh. In this eloquent piece of writing, the General Secretary illustrates how Vietnamese people have undergone a long revolutionary struggle to defend their nation and achieve their unity, and how the party had the vision to adopt the necessary reforms embodied in the Doi Moi and gradually develop a socialist-oriented market economy, while maintaining independence, self-reliance and multi-lateralization as principle guidelines for Vietnam’s foreign policy. It also stresses that the major challenges facing Vietnam include low competiveness and lack of sustainability of growth, the rising wealth gap, the required improvements to the healthcare and education and other public services, and corruption.
With that in mind, and despite the geographical distance that separates Egypt and Vietnam, the thorough look reveals significant similarities in the positions, orientations, values, and challenges facing the two countries. Both are proud to be among the oldest world civilizations, and both had the moral strength to face the dominant powers to achieve their independence, while currently, with almost identical size of population, nearly 100 million people, both countries are going through a similar phase of socio-economic development, striving to become high-income countries in the coming few decades.
As the ambassador of Egypt to Vietnam for more than three years, and while I am moving closer to the end of my mission in Hanoi, I can confidently say that the shared human and social values between the two peoples are profound. Both peoples recognize national solidarity as key to development, and stand firmly against corrupt and subversive thoughts, and both share profound respect for society traditions, and treasure the sacrifices of the heroes of their respective nations, and take pride in the legacy of their ancestors.
The friendship between Egypt and Vietnam had its highest political manifestation in the recent years in the historical exchanged visits of H. E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to Vietnam in September 2017, and the visit of the late President H.E. Tran Dai Quang to Egypt in August 2018. These visits contributed further momentum to the bilateral relations, which was reflected in the growing political mutual support on the international arena, where Vietnam has continued to play an active role as a non-permanent member of the UNSC (2020-2021), after ending its successful ASEAN chairmanship 2020.
In addition, bilateral developments were also shown in the growing volume of trade between the two countries, which reached a height of approximately 0.5 billion USD in 2018 for the first time, and successfully maintained it over the next years, while the two nations have been navigating through the difficulties imposed by COVID-19 pandemic since last year, and the two sides are looking forward to soon achieve the goal of reaching a bilateral trade volume of one billion USD.
Cultural and people to people exchange has always been among the main pillars for bilateral cooperation, as culture is, and I quote H.E Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the communist party of Vietnam, “a spiritual foundation of the society”. Joint Cultural activities in the recent years included the performance of the Egyptian water puppet troupe in Hanoi, the Vietnamese participation in the World Youth Forum, while the Vietnamese students continue to choose Egypt as one of their favorite destinations to study Arabic language. These forms of exchange further contribute to raising the awareness of the young generation about the friendship between our two nations.
While Egypt is looking ahead to a prosperous future under the leadership of H. E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egyptian national priorities remain focused on achieving sustainable development, while resolutely facing the increasing traditional and non-traditional challenges, including fighting the covid-19 pandemic, combating terrorism, ensuring national security, enhancing the relations in the regional and international spheres, and ensuring the sustainable use of water resources.
At the same time, the Egyptian government is implementing a comprehensive and ambitious development plan, which include unprecedented megaprojects. In addition, economic reforms and modern legal frameworks are adopted to create a friendly environment to attract foreign investments in the priority sectors, especially in energy, logistics, and telecommunication, and this represents an opportunity for Vietnamese companies to expand their investments in Egypt for the benefit of both sides.
While I extend my congratulations to Vietnam on successfully holding the thirteenth national congress of the communist party of Vietnam and electing the leaders of the Party and the State, I reaffirm that Egypt is looking with appreciation at the socio-economic achievements of Vietnam over the last decades, especially since adopting the Doi Moi in 1986, and I take this opportunity to reiterate my belief that under the current leadership of both nations, Egypt and Vietnam are destined to join their hands together to explore a horizon full of opportunities for the two friendly peoples to achieve their potentials and aspirations.