When Arab State entered into international refugee instruments behind the scenes of Egypt's acc...


This article explores why Egypt, unlike the majority of Arab states in the Middle East, decided to accede to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention) in 1981. Drawing on both primary and secondary source information, this article investigates the process of relevant negotiations between the Egyptian state and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The article’s historical analysis finds that Egypt’s major foreign policy reforms in the late 1970s became a key trigger for the country’s growing rapport with the UNHCR and the regime of the 1951 Convention. Yet, it is also argued that the UNHCR and pro-Western foreign ministry officials of Egypt played a pivotal role in leading to the successful outcome. Expanding on the state’s foreign policy rationale, this article provides useful insights into the conditions under which a previously reluctant state, like Egypt, could eventually become a party to the 1951 Convention.