The last photographs of the President of Egypt on Serbian soil, the ones from his send-off at the “Nikola Tesla” Airport yesterday, speak to the fact that Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was left satisfied with his nearly four-day stay in Belgrade. His host during those days, President Aleksandar Vučić, is also satisfied, convinced that with this visit El-Sisi has laid a foundation for the continued cooperation between the two countries in numerous fields, from agriculture to specific industries. But this visit of the Egyptian president, the first in 35 years, was not merely about specific matters, trade and money, the thing is that the already good political and cultural relations with one of the most influential countries in Africa, and especially in the Arabic and Islamic world, are being strengthened in this way as well. That is also important to Serbia because of the position of that part of the planet on the matter of the southern Serbian province, and Egypt is notable in that regard for its position of “frozen recognition”. In doing so, it has essentially put itself on the side of most African countries, which do not recognize the independence of Kosovo.

It is notable that neither El-Sisi nor Vučić spoke about Kosovo and Metohija in their official addresses, and the President of Serbia chose his words carefully when answering a journalist’s question yesterday at the dam on the Gruža lake about what the visit of the President of Egypt would mean for our attitude towards Kosovo among the Arabic world. Vučić merely said that they had discussed everything and that it was important to maintain friendly relations with Egypt, which is “one of the most significant Arabic and African countries, one of the most influential in the Islamic world, and a country which plays a massive role in the entire world”.

It would appear that, at least publicly, other levels of the government are in charge of the position of Egypt on the Kosovo issue. The President of the National Assembly Ivica Dačić met with El-Sisi on Wednesday, followed by his announcement that they had concluded in their discussion that “Egypt will keep the position of the frozen recognition of Kosovo”. Dačić, who had already met with the Egyptian president late last year in Cairo, communicated to El-Sisi that Belgrade was “highly appreciative” of the Egyptian position which assumes that Cairo will not be voting in favor of the membership of Priština in international organizations.

The former Ambassador of Serbia in Cairo Dragan Bisenić said that Egypt was a country that very thoroughly upholds all provisions of the international law. That also refers to the matter of the territorial integrity of countries, up to and including Serbia, he said to Kosovo Online on the occasion of President El-Sisi’s visit. “They do not support the independence of Kosovo in international institutions, and on other matters relating to the territorial integrity of countries, they also have very clear principles in favor of respecting the territorial integrity of countries,” said Bisenić, pointing out that, among other things, the position of Egypt on Kosovo is also important for the positions of other Arabic countries.

Another African country, Guinea-Bissau, has also taken the position of “frozen recognition”, which brought the number of countries on that continent that “actively” recognize the so-called independence of Kosovo down to fifteen. That continent boasts 54 countries that are members of the United Nations, and as Dačić triumphantly stated two and a half years ago, near the end of a series of successfully negotiated “unrecognitions” — two thirds of countries in Africa support Serbia in preserving its territorial integrity. On that occasion, he stated that “the libertarian spirit and the fight for justice and fairness in international relations are often absent in the modern world, but African countries have recognized the fight that Serbia is waging for the preservation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

Keeping in mind that Priština, according to its official website, has only opened an embassy in Senegal, whereas no African countries have a diplomatic mission in Kosovo, it brings into question how “active” really are the recognitions of the aforementioned fifteen African countries (the largest of which are Libya, Niger, Tanzania, Chad and Mauritania). More than half of the countries that have rescinded their recognition of Kosovo are also from Africa.

On the other hand, talking about the campaign of the so-called “unrecognition”, which is being implemented with particular success precisely in Africa, a conclusion can be drawn that the African countries have correctly realized just how dangerous a precedent it is to recognize unilaterally declared independence, and that the consequences, now already notable in different parts of the planet, can only be mitigated by revoking the original precedent and returning to status quo ante, with the full dedication to the process of political dialogue as the only way to resolve status issues,” pointed out Serbian State Secretary Nemanja Starović.

The relations between Serbia and African countries boast a traditional friendship, which goes back to the time of the fight of African nations for liberation and getting out from under the yoke of colonialism, which our country wholeheartedly supported, as well as their efforts to accelerate the economic development of the continent, reminded Starović. That cooperation reached a peak in the decades during which Yugoslavia led the Non-Aligned Movement, to which most African countries belong. “Even though a lot has changed in the past 30 years, we have succeeded at maintaining our diplomatic presence in Africa, so today the Republic of Serbia has fourteen embassies across the “continent of the future”, as Africa is being rather justifiably called, while, for example, all of the other republics of the former Yugoslavia have four between them,” pointed out Starović.