Egypt friendship ‘cornerstone’ of Dutch regional policy: Ambassador at King's Day in Cairo

Ghada Al-Sharkawy , Monday 29 Apr 2024

On the occasion of King’s Day, the Dutch national day, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Egypt Peter Mollema affirmed the strength of his country’s relationship with Egypt and its importance to regional stability.

Peter Mollema
Ambassador of the Netherlands to Egypt Peter Mollema speaks during his speech in Cairo, Egypt on Monday 29 April, 2024.

 

The Dutch ambassador made his remarks while celebrating the occasion, which marks King Willem Alexander’s birthday, at a ceremony held at the country’s embassy in Cairo.

Ambassador Mollema pointed to the strong economic, political, diplomatic, developmental, cultural, and personal bonds between the two countries.

“In 2022 alone, our trade with Egypt flourished, with nearly €2 billion in exports from the Netherlands and €1.5 billion in imports. Egypt remains our key economic partner in North Africa. Tourism is thriving again, with hundreds of thousands of Dutch tourists returning to Egypt."

He also pointed to the high-level political engagement between Egypt and the Netherlands, citing recent visits by the Dutch prime minister and minister of foreign affairs to Egypt in March to exchange views on Israel’s war on Gaza.

“The world is changing, and many things are no longer certain… We are witnessing a very serious conflict in Gaza with so many casualties. Peace in the Middle East seems further away than ever before, as the rockets flew from Iran and Yemen,” the ambassador said.

“Nothing seems certain anymore. But difficulties always hold opportunities beneath their wings. Working together with our friends in the region is more important than ever before. Our relationship with Egypt especially is a cornerstone of that policy.”

He pointed to peace and security, human rights, counter-terrorism, and migration and refugees as the top topics of discussion between Egypt, the Netherlands, and the EU more broadly.

“Stability in the region is what we all want to achieve, and we will continue to work very hard to get there.”

The ambassador highlighted the war in Gaza as an issue of particular concern, affirming his country’s commitment to delivering humanitarian aid to the war-torn strip.

“Our former minister of finance Sigrid Kaag, who is currently the UN senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, is trying to find humanitarian ways forward. We will help her with her tasks. Egypt’s role is crucial in so many aspects. The Netherlands and the European Union as a whole will continue to work hand in hand with Egypt.”

Ambassador Mollema also highlighted the improving investment climate in Egypt, pointing out that the government’s recent economic reforms are a hopeful sign and a promise for more in the future.

The opportunities for investment in green hydrogen are particularly exciting for Europe, he said, adding that he is looking forward to the World Hydrogen Summit set to be held in Rotterdam in mid-May.

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