By Aurora Ellis
Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi met with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirate’s crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, on Monday to discuss ways to strengthen economic, political and security ties between the two countries.
According to a statement released by the spokesman for the armed forces, Nahyan affirmed his country’s support for Egypt’s interim government and praised the Egyptian military’s “national role” in handling the current crisis.
This affirmation of support is the latest in a series of sympathetic gestures for the interim government, as the UAE was among the first countries to declare its support for the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July by the military which occurred only days after nationwide mass protests against Morsi.
Almost immediately following the removal of the former president, the UAE, along with other Gulf states, pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt. According to state-run Al-Ahram, in late July Egypt received six months of fuel shipments that were a part of the UAE’s overall aid package.
Over the past year, the UAE had a notably tense relationship with the administration of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. In June, 30 Egyptians were referred to trial in the UAE for establishing “an illegal branch of the Muslim Brotherhood” and 11 Egyptians were detained in November 2012 for their alleged involvement in a Brotherhood cell and for threatening Emirati security.
And in August, the UAE along with Bahrain also expressed their support the military’s violent crackdown on pro-Morsi protesters in the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda sit-ins, where hundreds of people died in clashes with security forces.