Egypt Background Notes, Egypt Official Info - RealAdventures

Egypt Background Notes

Egypt Official Info

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Details of Egypt Background Notes, Egypt Official Info
Details for Egypt Background Notes

Egypt Official Info

Contributed By RealAdventures Support

U.S. Department of State, December 2001

Background Note: Egypt

PROFILE

OFFICIAL NAME:

Arab Republic of Egypt

Geography
Area: 1,001,450 sq. km (386,000 sq. mi.); approximately equal to Texas and
New Mexico combined.
Cities: Capital--Cairo (pop. estimated at 16 million). Other cities--
Alexandria (6 million), Aswan, Asyut, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia.
Terrain: Desert, except Nile valley and delta.
Climate: Dry, hot summers; moderate winters.

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Egyptian(s).
Population (2000): 68 million.
Annual growth rate (1999): 1.8%.
Ethnic groups: Egyptian, Bedouin Arab, Nubian.
Religions: Sunni Muslim 90%, Coptic Christian.
Languages: Arabic (official), English, French.
Education: Years compulsory--ages 6-15. Literacy--total adult: 55.2%, male:
66.6%, female: 43.6%(1999-2000 est.).
Health: Infant mortality rate (1999)--41/1,000. Life expectancy (1999)--65.3
yrs. male, 68.5 yrs. female.

Government
Type: Republic.
Independence: 1922.
Constitution: 1971.
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, cabinet.
Legislative--People's Assembly (444 elected and 10 presidentially appointed
members) and Shura (consultative) Council (176 elected members, 88
presidentially appointed). Judicial--Supreme Constitutional Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 26 governorates.
Principal political parties: National Democratic Party (ruling). Principal
opposition parties--Wafd Party, Liberal Party, National Progressive
Unionist Grouping (Tagammau), and Nasserite Party. Suffrage: Universal at
18.

Economy
GDP (FY 1999-2000): $92.39 billion.
Annual growth rate (1999-2000): 4%.
Per capita GDP (1999-2000): $1,420.
Natural resources: Petroleum and natural gas, iron ore, phosphates,
manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc.
Agriculture: Products--cotton, rice, onions, beans, citrus fruits, wheat,
corn, barley, sugar.
Industry: Types--food processing, textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals,
construction, light manufacturing, iron and steel products, aluminum,
cement, military equipment.
Trade (FY 1999-2000): Exports--$6.4 billion: petroleum, clothing and
textiles, cotton, manufactured goods. Major markets--E.U., U.S., Middle
East, Japan. Imports--$17.86 billion: machinery and transport equipment,
petroleum products, livestock, food and beverages, paper and wood products,
chemicals. Major suppliers--U.S., E.U., Japan.

PEOPLE AND HISTORY
Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the second-most
populous on the African Continent. Nearly 100% of the country's 68 million
people live in Cairo and Alexandria; elsewhere on the banks of the Nile; in
the Nile delta, which fans out north of Cairo; and along the Suez Canal.
These regions are among the world's most densely populated, containing an
average of over 3,820 persons per square mile (1,540 per sq. km.), as
compared to 181 persons per sq. mi. for the country as a whole.

Small communities spread throughout the desert regions of Egypt are
clustered around oases and historic trade and transportation routes. The
government has tried with mixed success to encourage migration to newly
irrigated land reclaimed from the desert. However, the proportion of the
population living in rural areas has continued to decrease as people move to
the cities in search of employment and a higher standard of living.

The Egyptians are a fairly homogeneous people of Hamitic origin.
Mediterranean and Arab influences appear in the north, and there is some
mixing in the south with the Nubians of northern Sudan. Ethnic minorities
include a small number of Bedouin Arab nomads in the eastern and western
deserts and in the Sinai, as well as some 50,000-100,000 Nubians clustered
along the Nile in Upper (southern) Egypt.

The literacy rate is about 55% of the adult population. Education is free
through university and compulsory from ages six through 15. Rates for
primary and secondary education have strengthened in recent years.
Ninety-three percent of children enter primary school and about one-quarter
drop out after the sixth year; in 1994-95, 87% entered primary school and
about half dropped out after the sixth year. There are 20,000 primary and
secondary schools with some 10 million students, 13 major universities with
more than 500,000 students, and 67 teacher colleges. Major universities
include Cairo University (100,000 students), Alexandria University, and the
1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University, one of the world's major centers of
Islamic learning.

Egypt's vast and rich literature constitutes an important cultural element
in the life of the country and in the Arab world as a whole. Egyptian
novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of
Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated.
Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arab to win the Nobel prize
for literature. Egyptian books and films are available throughout the Middle
East.

Egypt has endured as a unified state for more than 5,000 years, and
archeological evidence indicates that a developed Egyptian society has
existed for much longer. Egyptians take pride in their "pharaonic heritage"
and in their descent from what they consider mankind's earliest
civilization. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr, which originally connoted
"civilization" or "metropolis."

Archeological findings show that primitive tribes lived along the Nile long
before the dynastic history of the pharaohs began. By 6000 B.C., organized
agriculture had appeared.

In about 3100 B.C., Egypt was united under a ruler known as Mena, or Menes,
who inaugurated the 30 pharaonic dynasties into which Egypt's ancient
history is divided--the Old and the Middle Kingdoms and the New Empire. The
pyramids at Giza (near Cairo), which were built in the fourth dynasty,
testify to the power of the pharaonic religion and state. The Great Pyramid,
the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops), is the only surviving
monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ancient Egypt reached
the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial extent in the period called
the New Empire (1567-1085 B.C.).

Persian, Greek, Roman, and Arab Conquerors
In 525 B.C., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, led a Persian invasion
force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty. The country
remained a Persian province until conquered by Alexander the Great in 322
BC, ushering in Ptolemeic rule Egypt that lasted for nearly 700 years.

Following a brief Persian reconquest, Egypt was invaded and conquered by
Arab forces in 642. A process of Arabization and Islamization ensued.
Although a Coptic Christian minority remained--and remains today,
constituting about 10% of the population--the Arab language inexorably
supplanted the indigenous Coptic tongue. For the next 1,300 years, a
succession of Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled
the country.

European Influence
The Ottoman Turks controlled Egypt from 1517 until 1882, except for a brief
period of French rule under Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1805, Mohammed Ali,
commander of an Albanian contingent of Ottoman troops, was appointed Pasha,
founding the dynasty that ruled Egypt until his great-great grandson, Farouk
I, was overthrown in 1952. Mohammed Ali the Great ruled Egypt until 1848,
writing the first chapter in the modern history of Egypt. The growth of
modern urban Cairo began in the reign of Ismail (1863-79). Eager to
Westernize the capital, he ordered the construction of a European-style city
to the west of the medieval core. The Suez Canal was completed in his reign
in 1869, and its completion was celebrated by many events, including the
commissioning of Verdi's "Aida" for the new opera house and the building of
great palaces such as the Omar Khayyam (originally constructed to entertain
the French Empress Eugenie, which is now the central section of the Cairo
Marriott Hotel).

In 1882, British expeditionary forces crushed a revolt against the Ottoman
rulers, marking the beginning of British occupation and the virtual
inclusion of Egypt within the British Empire. In deference to growing
nationalism, the U.K. unilaterally declared Egyptian independence in 1922.
British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt's political life and
fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms.

In the pre-1952 revolution period, three political forces competed with one
another: the Wafd, a broadly based nationalist political organization
strongly opposed to British influence; King Fuad, whom the British had
installed during World War II; and the British themselves, who were
determined to maintain control over the Canal. Other political forces
emerging in this period included the communist party (1925) and the Muslim
Brotherhood (1928), which eventually became a potent political and religious
force.

During World War II, British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied
operations throughout the region. British troops were withdrawn to the Suez
Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow
after the war. On July 22-23, 1952, a group of disaffected army officers
(the "free officers") led by Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King
Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948
war with Israel. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, they
abrogated the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on June 19,
1953. Nasser evolved into a charismatic leader, not only of Egypt but of the
Arab world, promoting and implementing "Arab socialism."

Nasser helped establish the Non-aligned Movement of developing countries in
September 1961, and continued to be a leading force in the movement until
his death in 1970. When the United States held up military sales in
reaction to Egyptian neutrality vis-a-vis Moscow, Nasser concluded an arms
deal with Czechoslovakia in September 1955.

When the U.S. and the World Bank withdrew their offer to help finance the
Aswan High Dam in mid-1956, Nasser nationalized the privately owned Suez
Canal Company. The crisis that followed, exacerbated by growing tensions
with Israel over guerrilla attacks from Gaza and Israeli reprisals, resulted
in the invasion of Egypt that October by France, Britain, and Israel.

Nasser's domestic policies were arbitrary and frequently oppressive, yet
generally popular. All opposition was stamped out, and opponents of the
regime frequently were imprisoned without trial. Nasser's foreign and
military policies helped provoke the Israeli attack of June 1967 that
virtually destroyed Egypt's armed forces along with those of Jordan and
Syria. Israel also occupied the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West
Bank, and the Golan Heights. Nasser, nonetheless, was revered by the masses
in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world until his death in 1970.

After Nasser's death, another of the original "free officers," Vice
President Anwar el-Sadat, was elected President. In 1971, Sadat concluded a
treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union but, a year later, ordered Soviet
advisers to leave. In 1973, he launched the October war with Israel, in
which Egypt's armed forces achieved initial successes but were defeated in
Israeli counterattacks.

Camp David and the Peace Process
In a momentous change from the Nasser era, President Sadat shifted Egypt
from a policy of confrontation with Israel to one of peaceful accommodation
through negotiations. Following the Sinai Disengagement Agreements of 1974
and 1975, Sadat created a fresh opening for progress by his dramatic visit
to Jerusalem in November 1977. This led to President Jimmy Carter's
invitation to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to join him in
trilateral negotiations at Camp David.

The outcome was the historic Camp David accords, signed by Egypt and Israel
and witnessed by the U.S. on September 17, 1978. The accords led to the
March 26, 1979, signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, by which Egypt
regained control of the Sinai in May 1982. Throughout this period,
U.S.-Egyptian relations steadily improved, but Sadat's willingness to break
ranks by making peace with Israel earned him the enmity of most other Arab
states.

Domestic Change
Sadat introduced greater political freedom and a new economic policy, the
most important aspect of which was the infitah or "open door." This relaxed
government controls over the economy and encouraged private investment.
Sadat dismantled much of the existing political machine and brought to trial
a number of former government officials accused of criminal excesses during
the Nasser era.

Liberalization also included the reinstitution of due process and the legal
banning of torture. Sadat tried to expand participation in the political
process in the mid-1970s but later abandoned this effort. In the last years
of his life, Egypt was racked by violence arising from discontent with
Sadat's rule and sectarian tensions, and it experienced a renewed measure of
repression.

>From Sadat to Mubarak
On October 6, 1981, President Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists.
Hosni Mubarak, Vice President since 1975 and air force commander during the
October 1973 war, was elected President later that month. He was
subsequently confirmed by popular referendum for three more 6-year terms,
most recently in September 1999. Mubarak has maintained Egypt's commitment
to the Camp David peace process, while at the same time re-establishing
Egypt's position as an Arab leader. Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League
in 1989. Egypt also has played a moderating role in such international fora
as the UN and the Non-ligned Movement.

Since 1991, Mubarak has undertaken an ambitious domestic economic reform
program to reduce the size of the public sector and expand the role of the
private sector. There has been less progress in political reform. The
November 2000 People's Assembly elections saw 34 members of the opposition
win seats in the 454-seat assembly, facing a clear majority of 388
ultimately affiliated with the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). The
opposition parties have been weak and divided and are not yet credible
alternatives to the NDP. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928,
remains an illegal organization and may not be recognized as a political
party (current Egyptian law prohibits the formation of political parties
based on religion). Members are known publicly and openly speak their
views, although they do not explicitly identify themselves as members of the
organization. Members of the Brotherhood have been elected to the People's
Assembly and local councils as independents. While concern remains that
economic problems could promote increasing dissatisfaction with the
government, President Mubarak enjoys broad support.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The Egyptian constitution provides for a strong executive. Authority is
vested in an elected president who can appoint one or more vice presidents,
a prime minister, and a cabinet. The president's term runs for 6 years.
Egypt's legislative body, the People's Assembly, has 454 members--444
popularly elected and 10 appointed by the president. The constitution
reserves 50% of the assembly seats for "workers and peasants." The assembly
sits for a 5-year term but can be dissolved earlier by the President. There
also is a 264-member Shura (consultative) Council, in which 88 members are
appointed and 174 elected for 6-year terms. Below the national level,
authority is exercised by and through governors and mayors appointed by the
central government and by popularly elected local councils.

Opposition party organizations make their views public and represent their
followers at various levels in the political system, but power is
concentrated in the hands of the President and the National Democratic Party
majority in the People's Assembly and those institutions dominate the
political system. In addition to the ruling National Democratic Party,
there are 16 other legally recognized parties.

The November 2000 elections were generally considered to have been more
transparent and better executed than past elections, because of universal
judicial monitoring of polling stations. On the other hand, opposition
parties continue to lodge credible complaints about electoral manipulation
by the government. There are significant restrictions on the political
process and freedom of expression for non-governmental organizations,
including professional syndicates and organizations promoting respect for
human rights.

Egypt's judicial system is based on European (primarily French) legal
concepts and methods. Under the Mubarak government, the courts have
demonstrated increasing independence, and the principles of due process and
judicial review have gained greater respect. The legal code is derived
largely from the Napoleonic Code. Marriage and personal status (family law)
are primarily based on the religious law of the individual concerned, which
for most Egyptians is Islamic Law (Sharia).

NATIONAL SECURITY
Egypt's armed forces, among the largest in the region, include the army, air
defense, air force, and navy. The armed forces inventory includes equipment
from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet
Union, and China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being
progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and British
equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt.
To bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided
military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states.
Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner of the United States.

Principal Government Officials
President Mohamed Hosny Mubarak
Address: Presidency, Abdin Palace, Abdin, Cairo, Egypt

Dr. Atef Ebeid
Prime Minister
Address: Ministers' Cabinet, Majlis Al Shaab Street, Cairo, Egypt
Tel: 7923666 / 7922727

Dr. Youssef Wally
Deputy Prime Minister
Address: Ministry of Agriculture, Shooting Club Street, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
or: Diwan A'am Wizaret Al Ziraa'aa, Midan Al Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
Tel: 7603156 / 3372566 / 3373388

Ambassador Ahmed Maher
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Address: MFA Building, Maspero, Cairo, Egypt
Tel: 5749816/ 5749817
(Chief of his cabinet: Amb. Mokhless Kotb: 5749820)

Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
Ambassador to the United States of America
Address: 3521 International Court N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008
Tel: (202) 895-5400

Ambassador Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Address: 304 East 44th Street, New York, N.Y.
Tel: (212) 503-0300

Egypt maintains an embassy in the United States at 3521 International Court
N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008 (tel. 202-895-5400). The Washington consulate
has the same address (tel. 202-966-6342). The Egyptian Mission to the
United Nations is located at 304 East 44th Street, New York, N.Y. (tel.
212-305-0300). Egyptian consulates general are located at: 1110 Second
Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10022 (tel. 212-759-7120); 1990 Post Oak Boulevard,
Suite 2180, Houston, TX, 77056 (tel. 713-961-4915); 500 N. Michigan Avenue,
Suite 1900, Chicago, IL, 60611 (tel. 312-828-9162); and 3001 Pacific Avenue,
San Francisco, CA, 94115 (tel. 415-346-9700).

ECONOMY
Under comprehensive economic reforms initiated in 1991, Egypt has relaxed
many price controls, reduced subsidies, and partially liberalized trade and
investment. Manufacturing is still dominated by the public sector, which
controls virtually all heavy industry. A process of public sector reform and
privatization has begun, however, which could enhance opportunities for the
private sector. Agriculture, mainly in private hands, has been largely
deregulated, with the exception of cotton and sugar production.
Construction, non-financial services, and domestic marketing are largely
private. This has promoted a steady increase of GNP and the annual growth
rate. Among Arab countries, Egypt's GDP is second only to Saudi Arabia's.
However, the Egyptian economy relies heavily on tourist revenues. The
tourism sector suffered tremendously following a terrorist attack on
tourists in Luxor in October 1997, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks against the United States, affecting the economy as a whole.

Agriculture
Approximately one-third of Egyptian labor is engaged directly in farming,
and many others work in the processing or trading of agricultural products.
Practically all Egyptian agriculture takes place in some 2.5 million
hectares (6 million acres) of fertile soil in the Nile Valley and Delta.
Some desert lands are being developed for agriculture, including the
ambitious Toshka project in Upper Egypt, but some other fertile lands in the
Nile Valley and Delta are being lost to urbanization and erosion.

Warm weather and plentiful water permit several crops a year. Further
improvement is possible, but land is worked intensively and yields are high.
Cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane, sugar beets, onions, and beans are the
principal crops. Increasingly, a few modern operations are producing
fruits, vegetables and flowers, in addition to cotton, for export. While
the desert hosts some large, modern farms, more common traditional farms
occupy one acre each, typically in a canal-irrigated area along the banks of
the Nile. Many small farmers also have cows, water buffaloes, and chicken,
although larger modern farms are becoming more important.

The United States is a major supplier of wheat, corn, and soybean products
to Egypt, almost all through commercial sales. Egypt is, in fact, the
U.S.'s largest market for wheat sales. U.S. agricultural sales to Egypt
total $1 billion annually. U.S. food assistance programs to Egypt ended in
1992 as Egypt became more prosperous. Egypt continues to receive modest
food assistance through the World Food Program and from France.

"Egypt," wrote the Greek historian Herodotus 25 centuries ago, "is the gift
of the Nile." The land's seemingly inexhaustible resources of water and soil
carried by this mighty river created in the Nile Valley and Delta the
world's most extensive oasis. Without the Nile, Egypt would be little more
than a desert wasteland.

The river carves a narrow, cultivated floodplain, never more than 20
kilometers wide, as it travels northward toward Cairo from Lake Nasser on
the Sudanese border, behind the Aswan High Dam. Just north of Cairo, the
Nile spreads out over what was once a broad estuary that has been filled by
riverine deposits to form a fertile delta about 250 kilometers wide (150
mi.) at the seaward base and about 160 kilometers (96 mi.) from south to
north.

Before the construction of dams on the Nile, particularly the Aswan High Dam
(started in 1952, completed in 1970), the fertility of the Nile Valley was
sustained by the water flow and the silt deposited by the annual flood.
Sediment is now obstructed by the Aswan High Dam and retained in Lake
Nasser. The interruption of yearly, natural fertilization and the increasing
salinity of the soil has been a manageable problem resulting from the dam.
The benefits remain impressive: more intensive farming on millions of acres
of land made possible by improved irrigation, prevention of flood damage,
and the generation of billions of low-cost kilowatt hours of electricity.

The Western Desert accounts for about two-thirds of the country's land area.
For the most part, it is a massive sandy plateau marked by seven major
depressions. One of these, Fayoum, was connected about 3,600 years ago to
the Nile by canals. Today, it is an important irrigated agricultural area.

Natural Resources
In addition to the agricultural capacity of the Nile Valley and Delta,
Egypt's natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, and
iron ore. Crude oil is found primarily in the Gulf of Suez and in the
Western Desert. Natural gas is found mainly in the Nile Delta, off the
Mediterranean sea shore, and in the Western Desert. Oil and gas accounted
for approximately 7% of GDP of FY2000/2001.

Export of petroleum and related products amounted to $2.6 billion in the
year 2000. In late 2001, Egypt's benchmark "Suez Blend" was about $16.73
per barrel, the lowest price since 1999.

Crude oil production has been in decline for several years, from 45.2
million metric tons (mmt) in 93/94 to 37 mmt in 99/00. Oil production in
late 2001 was about 740,000 barrels per day. To minimize the growing
domestic demand of petroleum products (approximately 23 mmt) Egypt is
encouraging the production of natural gas. Natural gas output continues to
increase and reached 18 mmt of oil equivalents in 2001.

Over the last 20 years, more than 217 oil exploration agreements have been
signed and multinational oil companies spent more than $27 billion in
exploration companions. These activities let to the findings of about 18
crude oil fields and 16 natural gas fields. As a result of these findings,
crude oil reserves as of September 2001 are estimated at 2.8 billion barrel,
and proven natural gas reserves are 55 trillion cubic feet (TCF) with a
likely additional 65 TCF. Texas-based Apache Oil Company is the largest
American investor in Egypt, with a total investment of more than $1.6
billion since 1996.

Egypt's excess of natural gas will more than meet its domestic demand for
many years to come. The Ministry of Petroleum has established expanding the
Egyptian petrochemical industry and increasing exports of natural gas as its
most significant strategic objectives.

Egypt and Jordan are cooperating to establish the Eastern Gas Company to
export natural gas to Jordan; the expected date of completion is by
mid-2003. It is estimated that Egypt will be able to export to Jordan 1.1
to 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Total investment in this project
is about $220 million.

Transport and Communication
Transportation facilities in Egypt are centered in Cairo and largely follow
the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation's
4,800-kilometer (2,800-mi.) railway network runs from Alexandria to Aswan.
The well-maintained road network has expanded rapidly to over 21,000 miles,
covering the Nile Valley and Delta, Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, the
Sinai, and the Western oases.

Egypt Air provides reliable domestic air service to major tourist
destinations from its Cairo hub, in addition to overseas routes. The Nile
River system (about 1,600 km. or 1,000 mi.) and the principal canals (1,600
km.) are important locally for transportation. The Suez Canal is a major
waterway of international commerce and navigation, linking the Mediterranean
and Red Seas. Major ports are Alexandria, Port Said, and Damietta on the
Mediterranean, and Suez and Safraga on the Red Sea.

Egypt has long been the cultural and informational center of the Arab world,
and Cairo is the region's largest publishing and broadcasting center. There
are eight daily newspapers with a total circulation of more than 2 million,
and a number of monthly newspapers, magazines, and journals. The majority of
political parties have their own newspapers, and these papers conduct a
lively, often highly partisan, debate on public issues.

Egyptian ground-broadcast television (ETV) is government controlled and
depends heavily on commercial revenue. ETV sells its specially produced
programs and soap operas to the entire Arab world. In addition to Egyptian
programming, the Middle East Broadcast Company, a Saudi television station
transmitting from London (MBC), Arab Radio and Television (ART), Al-Jazira
television, and other Gulf stations are available, as well as Western
networks, to Egyptians who own satellite receivers.

ETV has two main channels, six regional channels, and three satellite
channels. Of the two main channels, Channel I uses mainly Arabic, while
Channel II is dedicated to foreigners and more cultured viewers,
broadcasting news in English and French as well as Arabic.

Egyptian Satellite channels broadcast to the Middle East, Europe, and the
U.S. East Coast.
In April 1998, Egypt launched its own satellite known as NileSat 101. Seven
specialized channels cover news, culture, sports, education, entertainment,
health, and drama. A second, digital satellite, Nilesat 102, was launched
in August 2000. Many of its channels are rented to other stations.

Three new private satellite-based TV stations were launched in November
2001, marking a great change in Egyptian government policy. Dream TV 1 and
2 produce cultural programming, broadcast contemporary video clips and
films featuring Arab and international actors, as well as soap operas;
another private station focuses on business and general news. Both private
channels transmit on NileSat.

Radio in Egypt is also government controlled, using 44 short-wave
frequencies, 18 medium-wave stations, and four FM stations. There are seven
regional radio stations covering the country. Egyptian Radio transmits 60
hours daily overseas in 33 languages and three hundred hours daily within
Egypt. In 2000, Radio Cairo introduced new specialized (thematic) channels
on its FM station. So far, they include news, music, and sports. Radio
enjoys more freedom than TV in its news programs, talk shows and analysis.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
Geography, population, history, military strength, and diplomatic expertise
give Egypt extensive political influence in the Middle East and within the
Nonaligned Movement as a whole. Cairo has been a crossroads of Arab
commerce and culture for millennia, and its intellectual and Islamic
institutions are at the center of the region's social and cultural
development.

The Arab League headquarters is in Cairo, and the Secretary General of the
League is traditionally an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre
Moussa is the present Secretary General of the Arab League. President
Mubarak has often chaired the Organization of African Unity, which is now
becoming the African Union. Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros
Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to
1996.

Egypt is a key partner in the search for peace in the Middle East and
resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sadat's groundbreaking trip
to Israel in 1977, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1979 Egypt-Israel
Peace Treaty represented a fundamental shift in the politics of the
region--from a strategy of confrontation to one of peace as a strategic
choice. Egypt was subsequently ostracized by other Arab states and ejected
from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989. Egypt played an important role in
the negotiations leading to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, which,
under U.S. and Russian sponsorship, brought together all parties in the
region to discuss Middle East peace. This support has continued to the
present, with President Mubarak often intervening personally to promote
peace negotiations. In 1996, he hosted the Sharm El-Sheikh "Summit of the
Peacemakers" attended by President Clinton and other world leaders. In
2000, he hosted two summits at Sharm El-Sheikh and one at Taba in an effort
to resume the Camp David negotiations suspended in July of 2000.

Egypt played a key role during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis. President Mubarak
helped assemble the international coalition and deployed 35,000 Egyptian
troops against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. The Egyptian contingent was the
third largest in the coalition forces, after the U.S. and U.K. In the
aftermath of the Gulf war, Egypt signed the Damascus declaration with Syria
and the Gulf states to strengthen Gulf security. Egypt continues to
contribute regularly to UN peacekeeping missions, most recently in East
Timor and Sierra Leone. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
on the United States, Egypt, which has itself been the target of terrorist
attacks, has been a key supporter of the U.S. war against terrorists and
terrorist organizations such as Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda.

U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS
The United States and Egypt enjoy a strong and friendly relationship based
on shared mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, revitalizing
the Egyptian economy and strengthening trade relations, and promoting
regional security. Over the years, Egypt and the United States have worked
together assiduously to expand Middle East peace negotiations, hosting
talks, negotiations, and the Middle East and North Africa Economic (MENA)
Conference. Multinational exercises, U.S. assistance to Egypt's military
modernization program, and Egypt's role as a contributor to various UN
peacekeeping operations continually reinforce the U.S.-Egyptian military
relationship.

An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and
economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of
the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979. U.S. military aid to Egypt
totals over $1.3 billion annually. In addition, USAID has provided over $24
billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt between 1975 and
2000. A shift in assistance from infrastructure, health, food supply, and
agriculture toward market-based economic development, good governance, and
training programs is reflected in the motto, "From Aid to Trade." The
Commodity Import Program, through which USAID provides hundreds of millions
of dollars in financing to enable the Egyptian private sector to import U.S.
goods, remains one of the largest and most popular USAID programs.

U.S. military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and
strengthen regional security and stability. Under FMS programs, the U.S. has
provided F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M-60A3 and M1A1 tanks, armored
personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, antiaircraft missile batteries,
aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment. The U.S. and Egypt also
participate in combined military exercises, including deployments of U.S.
troops to Egypt. Each year, Egypt hosts Operation Bright Star, a
multilateral military exercise with the U.S., and the largest military
exercise in the world. Units of the U.S. 6th Fleet are regular visitors to
Egyptian ports.

###

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