Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean visited Egypt from 7 to 9 March 2016. He was accompanied by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister of State for National Development and Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon, and Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs Amrin Amin.

On 8 March 2016, DPM Teo called on His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, during which they reaffirmed the longstanding relations between Egypt and Singapore. Both leaders acknowledged the significant progress in bilateral relations after President Al Sisi's State Visit to Singapore last year. President Al Sisi encouraged Singapore companies to explore business opportunities in Egypt such as in the newly-established Suez Canal Economic Zone. President Al Sisi said that he looked forward to hosting President Tony Tan Keng Yam later this year.

DPM Teo also called on His Excellency Prime Minister Sherif Ismail yesterday. Prime Minister Ismail updated DPM Teo on economic developments in Egypt and welcomed closer cooperation with Singapore. DPM shared Singapore's experience in transforming our economy to prepare for future challenges.

DPM Teo had a separate meeting with His Excellency Minister of Interior Magdy Mohamed Abdel Ghaffar, during which they had a useful exchange of views on security developments in the Middle East. Minister Ghaffar welcomed closer security cooperation between Egypt and Singapore.

On 9 March 2016, DPM Teo called on His Eminence Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Dr Ahmed Al Tayyeb. DPM Teo expressed Singapore's appreciation to Al Azhar for its intellectual leadership in the Muslim world and for hosting many Singaporean students over the decades. Grand Imam Al Tayyeb and DPM Teo discussed the dangers posed by extremist ideologies which have a divisive effect on society and agreed on the importance of promoting the message of peace and tolerance. DPM Teo welcomed Grand Imam Al Tayyeb's proposal to explore the establishment of a centre in Singapore in collaboration with Al Azhar for Arabic learning and to promote a deeper understanding of Islam. Grand Imam Al Tayyeb said that he looked forward to visiting Singapore in the future. DPM Teo also met professors and students during his tour of Al Azhar University, hosted by its President Dr Ibrahim El Hodhod.

DPM Teo also separately called on His Eminence Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Dr Shawki Allam today. Grand Mufti Allam fondly recalled his visit to Singapore in January 2015 where he saw for himself, Singapore's respect and tolerance for pluralism and diversity. He welcomed closer cooperation between Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah and MUIS including in the sharing of fatwas.

DPM Teo and the other Singapore Political Office Holders also held a dialogue session with Singaporean students studying in Egypt.

DPM Teo departs for Singapore this evening.

Source: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS