OPINION

February 4, 1958

UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC: Cairo, 1 – At about 2.53 p.m. Greenwich Time, an historic document was signed uniting Egypt and Syria, as the United Arab Republic. At a ceremony in the city’s old presidential palace, the two countries’ presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Shukri al-Quwatli respectively, signed the joint declaration as a large crowd cheered outside. After the signing ceremony, Nasser and Quwatli embraced each other before leading a parade through the streets of Cairo amid tumultuous, joyous celebrations. It was the first time in 800 years that two Arab states had united voluntarily. Egyptian and Syrian government ministers also signed the document, which was the culmination of a long series of meetings between the two countries’ delegations, headed by their presidents. Cairo radio broadcast patriotic songs throughout the day and broadcast statements welcoming this «glorious day for the Arab nation.» It has also been said that the union of the two countries was not undertaken solely for sentimental reasons but in fact was based on common interests and joint political goals and hopes for the future.