Britain’s Prince Charles met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi in Cairo on Monday, the first official visit by a British head of state since 2006. The prince is making his first trip to Egypt since 1993, when he visited the country on a visit to mark Britain’s 70th anniversary of independence.
The event, which takes place at the Giza Pyramids, will be attended by El-Sissi and British Prime Minister Theresa May, The Guardian reported.
During the meeting, the queen will present El-Sissi with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), a decoration that was created by Queen Victoria, for his achievements in his country, the British Foreign Office said.
El-Sissi’s embrace of Britain could be seen as an attempt to ease relations with the West that were left strained by the 2011 uprising against longtime president Hosni Mubarak. But the prince’s visit also comes amid anti-western sentiment across the Middle East, and clashes between the west and some Muslim countries over the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Efforts by Britain to strengthen its economic ties with Egypt could be a prelude to an enhanced trade and economic partnership. A new trade and investment law enacted by the government in January 2011, when the Arab Spring began sweeping through the region, does not explicitly exclude specific sectors like arms or investment from potential trading partners.
British firms have become more active in Egypt over the past several years. The British Council, which promotes the culture and education in the country, opened a new in-country office last year, and construction company Grimshaw has proposed building the nation’s largest mosque near Cairo.