Few will disagree with my opinion on the improved performance of Egyptian foreign policy over the past two years. I do not think that the positive development in Egyptian foreign relations is a coincidence, but rather the result of accumulated relations between representatives of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives of states concerned about Egypt and communicating with it.
It has been noticeable, over the last year, that the development of the Egyptian-Russian relations led to positive results and political returns that could have been much delayed if Egypt had remained under the US and European umbrella, or followed them in their relations with a strong country like Russia.
What strikes me now is the delay in Egypt’s benefiting from the regional and international changes, the most important of which is the Iranian nuclear deal. This is where Egypt has to move and set its opportunistic metre at its highest.
Here, Egypt must be aware that its chances of making further political, armament and logistics gains are shrinking as time passes. I spoke with my friend, the global nuclear scientist Abdel-Hakim Kandil, about this. He told me that Egypt has the opportunity to demand the denuclearisation of the region, and that the country should move to acquire its right to use nuclear energy and force the major countries opposing this to change their strategies and turn to be of assistance. Iran’s gains do not stop at the return of $100bn of its frozen foreign assets, but its scientists will move east and west, in complete freedom, and will acquire new experience.
Egypt needs 10 times more power than it produces now, and this will never happen without nuclear power. Solar energy requires advanced technology, and if implemented, should be parallel to nuclear energy. The Daba’a nuclear reactor is the best place for this project, which has been over-researched. We need at least six nuclear power plants.
Many have told me a lot more about the great benefits of beginning the transition to renewable energy, starting with nuclear energy. Kandil told me, at the end of our phone conversation, that the Egyptian administration has to believe in scientific research and take interest in modern technology and proper education. He added that Saudi Arabia should not be upset and consider the Iranian deal a threat. Saudi Arabia has started its nuclear programme, and the UAE is on the same path. Everyone should utilise politics to deal with important issues.
To go back to my idea of opportunism, although I reject human opportunism, on the other hand countries should take advantage of any change that happens on the regional scale in favour of its people. Egypt managed to partly restore the positive convergence with important international powers. It recovered its strategic relations with the US using the Egyptian-Russian convergence as its playing card, and got closer to main European powers such as Germany and France. Now it should benefit from the serious shift in US-Iran relations by re-launching its nuclear project. It is unthinkable that Egypt would be the last country to implement such a project when it was the first one to think of it.
Egypt should benefit from Saudi Arabia’s alarm by getting the biggest logistical financial support, especially in the field of armaments, to help the Egyptian army in its war against terrorism. It should proceed with the utmost force to take advantage of this important change before its lustre dims; this shift that has caused many regional countries to seek safety in the Egyptian army’s strength, and the stability of Egypt.
Emad El-Sayed is an Egyptian journalist and the Editor of Daily News Egypt