During a recent visit to Serbia, Governor of South Sinai, Haled Fuda, spoke in an interview with the portal balkantravel.rs about the intentions to enhance cooperation between Egypt and Serbia. This visit is the result of the successful signing of a cooperation protocol between the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh and the Serbian cities of Niš and Jagodina.
His visit testifies to the desire to strengthen ties between South Sinai and Serbia, especially in the field of tourism, and opens up prospects for cooperation and exchange of experiences between the two friendly countries.
I am interested in improving cooperation in the field of tourism and implementing the signed agreements with the city of Niš, with which we established a twinning relationship last year. I will also visit Mr. Dragan Marković Palma in response to his visit to Sharm el-Sheikh last year, where we will have the opportunity to improve cooperation with Jagodina.
You have been to our country several times before; can you tell us how many times exactly and what you like most about it?
I have been to Serbia three times. The first time was in 2004 when the Military Committee between the two countries was established. The second time was in 2021 when we discussed twinning between Niš and Sharm el-Sheikh, while the third time is this current visit aimed at further improving relations between the two countries. I like the Serbian people the most; you treat guests just like Egyptians do. Throughout history, you have been considered our friendly nation.
What are the concrete results of the signing of the cooperation protocol between Sharm el-Sheikh, Niš, and Jagodina?
The cooperation primarily involves tourism, culture, and the exchange of various experiences. We have discussed the exchange of artistic groups and sports clubs that would potentially travel to the other country and prepare for competitions. The advantages of our two countries’ differences are best seen there. Here, you have a climate that we don’t have, with a lot of snow, but cooperation is also planned in various other fields.
What are the connections between South Sinai and Serbia, and do you plan to improve those relations?
Our connections have been significant and present since the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement. After our President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi visited Belgrade last year, cooperation between our two countries improved, and my visit followed the presidential visit. I am here today to help improve relations, and my goal is to enhance cooperation.
How would you describe the current state of tourism in South Sinai, and what attracts Serbian tourists the most?
Tourism is one of our most important industries. We recently hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, which welcomed more than 65,000 people. Sharm el-Sheikh is a city that has been significantly upgraded and developed, and all of this together improves tourism, which continues to grow.
What is the current status of infrastructure projects in South Sinai?
I want to say that we are currently living in the best period in Egypt’s history, with President Sisi at the helm. South Sinai has been completely renovated, and besides the buildings themselves, roads have been developed throughout the region, as well as hospitals and schools. Universities have now been built where there were none before; we even have three of them. All of this has been done with the support of President Sisi for South Sinai.
What messages do you want to convey to the Serbian people and government officials during your visit to Serbia, and how would you describe the prospects for future cooperation between our two countries?
We want to tell the Serbian people that we love them and that they resemble the Egyptian people greatly. Our friendship and cultures have often intersected throughout history, and we hope that the relations will further improve in the future, led by our presidents.
How would you assess the level of security in South Sinai considering its strategic location between the Suez Canal and the Israeli border?
We have good relations with Israel, and there is a great understanding between both sides, which is reflected in a significant number of diplomatic visits. Many Jews visit Sharm el-Sheikh without the need for a visa. Our relations are very good, and we treat each other in a friendly manner.
Author: Vasilije Filipović