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Estonia and Egypt

08.05.2014

Bilateral Relations

The Republic of Estonia and the Arab Republic of Egypt recognised each other through respective membership in the League of Nations (Estonia acceded in 1922, Egypt in 1937).

In 1927, the Estonian Consul General in Athens (and later in Istanbul) was assigned to represent Estonia’s consular interests in Egypt. In 1933 Danish citizen Anton Nyegaard was appointed to serve as Estonian Honorary Consul in Cairo (covering all of Egypt).

Egypt re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 6 September 1991. Diplomatic relations were established on 2 January 1992. In March 2010, the Estonian Embassy in Cairo was  opened. The Estonian Embassy in Cairo is the only Estonian Embassy in an Arab country and on the continent of Africa.

The Estonian Ambassador in Cairo is Mr. Paul Teesalu (presentation of letter of credence 5 December 2010). Ambassador Teesalu is also accredited to the League of Arab States and the African Union.

Egyptian Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Mahmoud Gamil Ahmed El Dieb resides in Helsinki.

2007-2010 Mrs. Tiia Miller served as non-resident Ambassador of Estonia to Egypt, residing in Tallinn.

Visits

January 2005 - visit of Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland to Egypt.

November 2005 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif at the Euromed Summit in Barcelona.

December 2007 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in the framework of the EU- African Union Summit in Lisbon.

March 2009 – Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo prior to the international donors’ conference of Gaza.

March 2010 – Official visit of Foreign Minister Urmas Paet to Egypt, during which he opened the Estonian Embassy in Egypt.

November 2012 – Foreign Minister Urmas Paet attended the European Union-League of Arab States Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo.

Bilateral agreements

  • Agreement for economic, technical and research co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (came into force 9 February 1999)
  • Cultural co-operation memorandum between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (signed 12 May 2004)
  • Memorandum of understanding for co-operation between the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Estonia and the Foreign Ministry of the Arab Republic of Egypt (came into force 24 January 2005)

Economic Relations

There is a big potential in developing trade and economic relations. Egypt is the main holiday destination for Estonian tourists, catering more than 50 000 Estonian tourists in a year.

Estonian-Egypt trade (EUR, in millions):

  Export Import
2007 13.1 1.9
2008 19.9 2.4
2009 9.1 2.1
2010 46.7 1.8
2011
16.8
2.1
201217.12,1
201313.12.1

The main export in 2013 was cardboard and paper pulp (ca 75% of total exports), followed by machinery, timber and metal products.

Cultural Co-operation

On 12 May 2004, the Memorandum of Cultural Co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt was signed in Tallinn.

Over the years, several Estonian films have been successfully presented in Cairo, Luxor and Ismailia Film Festivals. Egyptian films have been screened at the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn.

There is a relatively small Estonian community in Egypt, mainly in resort areas but also in Cairo and Alexandria. Historically, at the beginning of the 1920s, dozens of Estonians lived in Egypt, having found themselves in Egypt following the defeat of the armies of Denikin and Wrangel in South Russia. The majority of the Estonians soon left Egypt, while some stayed in Egypt. Several female Estonian missionaries, who were part of the Egyptian General Mission established in 1898, were active in Egypt.

At the beginning of 1925, Jaan Lattik, a clergyman and educator, and Ernst Ederberg, an architect visited Egypt. Lattik published his travel memoirs "Towards the South" in the Estonian daily "Päevaleht" and thereafter as a separate book.

Estonian statesman and economist prof. Nikolai Köstner, Estonian trade minister in the 1920-ies,  lived in Cairo 1940-1959 and served first as adviser by the League of Nations to Egypt and later as the Director of Research Department of the National Bank of Egypt. His grave lies in the German Cemetery near the historic Coptic Quarter of the Old Cairo.

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© Estonian Embassy in Cairo 3, Abou El Feda St, Zamalek, Cairo tel. (20) 227 384 190, e-mail: embassy.cairo@mfa.ee