Japan pledged Monday that it will continue to support Egypt’s democratic process five years after revolution swept the country and ousted Hosni Mubarak.
The promise came during Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s first state visit to Japan. During a news conference following talks with el-Sisi, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced economic assistance, including a ¥2 trillion business project with Japanese companies.
The two countries will also launch an education partnership, under which Japan will receive 2,500 Egyptian students during the next five years.
“Egypt is the keystone in stabilizing the Middle East. We highly value the president’s efforts for democratizing the country through a road map,” Abe said at the joint news conference.
El-Sisi, a former chief of Egypt’s military who came to power in 2014 after he ousted President Mohammed Morsi in an uprising in 2013, said the bilateral relationship will benefit if the education level in Egypt improves. Interested in the Japanese educational system, he is scheduled to visit an elementary school before he leaves Japan on Wednesday.
Since the Arab Spring five years ago, Egypt has gone through both economic and social turmoil. El-Sisi said during a recent speech to Egypt’s parliament that the democratic transition is complete, according to Al-Jazeera, despite some criticism for his crackdown on opposition forces.
To promote stability and security in the Middle East, Japan and Egypt agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorists and extremists such as the Islamic State group. The two nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council also said that they will work together on global issues such as a resolution against North Korea’s recent nuclear test and launch of a de facto long-range missile.