Egyptians cheer as Suez Canal traffic jam eases

World

Egyptians cheer as Suez Canal traffic jam eases

Cairo’s economic interests and national pride converge in the linchpin of global trade

Heba Saleh and Harry Dempsey

For more than half a century Egyptian navigation pilots kept the Suez Canal running smoothly, defying colonial powers’ predictions when Cairo nationalised the vital trade artery in 1956.

So when Ever Given, a colossal container ship, ran aground, it was a matter of national pride to get it moving. With hundreds of big ships piled up at the entrance of the waterway, a linchpin of global trade, Egypt’s canal authorities faced their toughest peacetime challenge, one in which both the country’s economic interests and its national prestige are bound up.

With the ship finally floated on Monday, tugboats sounded their horns. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the country’s president, said: “Egyptians proved today that they are up to their responsibilities and that the canal dug by the bodies of their forebears and defended by the lives of their fathers bears witness that Egyptians will determine their own destiny.”..

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