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Egyptian Prime Minister: Egyptian ties with China "deep and solid"

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef stressed on Thursday that the relations between Egypt and China were "deep and solid", expressing optimism over the further development of bilateral ties.


Nazef made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua two days before China's Vice Premier Huang Ju's visit to Egypt. The prime minister emphasized that Huang's visit, at his invitation, showed the leaders of the two countries attached great importance to the bilateral relations.


The Sino-Egyptian friendship has enjoyed a long history and has a solid base of mutual respect and friendly cooperation, and relations between the two sides in political, economic and military domains are developing steadily and concretely, he added. Nazef also revealed that bilateral cooperation in economy, trade and investment would be highlighted in the talks with the senior Chinese official.


In addition, Nazef noted that China showed positive positions on the Middle East issues, especially on supporting the Palestinian cause of establishing an independent state, adding that Egypt considered China a major power in the world.


At the same time, he praised China for not pursuing hegemony and interfering in other countries' internal affairs.


China is a friend of the Arab world and both sides support each other in the international political arena, said Nazef. Egypt and China are not only countries which have a long history of civilizations but also important developing countries in the world, and the strategic cooperation between the two sides are being enhanced within the context of mutual trust and goodwill, Nazef added.


The prime minister noted that bilateral economic and trade relations were developing quickly, especially in 2003 when trade volume reached 1.09 billion US dollars, a 15.4 percent increase over 2002.


On the cooperation in investment, Nazef said Chinese investment in Egypt was soaring dramatically.


According to latest Egyptian official statistics, there are currently 114 Chinese companies and Sino-Egyptian joint ventures in Egypt.


Meanwhile, the Sino-Egyptian trade and cooperation are expanded in finance, insurance, tourism, oil, agriculture, IT, chemical products and biological engineering sectors.


China has invested in the No. 3 District of the Suez Economic Zone in eastern Egypt, where roads and other infrastructure projects are under construction. When all the basic projects are completed, more Chinese companies are expected to come and invest in the zone.


Nazef said it was very important for Egypt to improve the economic and trade relations with China, noting that although the bilateral trade had improved substantially, it still lagged behind the development of the political ties between the two countries. In 1999, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited China and several cooperation agreements were signed including those on the development of tourism industry and peaceful utilization of nuclear technology.


Nazef said the prospects for science and technology cooperation between the two countries are bright, especially in IT fields and construction of power plants, which Egypt was eager to develop in the future.


Egypt and China will also put more emphasis on the exchange of experts and training professional personnel, he added. When talking about the cooperation in the oil sector, he said negotiations were underway with a Chinese oil company to give it a license to explore oil fields in Egypt as the two countries had made progress in several natural gas projects.


Nazef concluded that Egypt, which enjoys political stability with a big market and many unique advantages in the region, had taken concrete measures to attract foreign investment and to boost the confidence of foreign investors.

Source: Xinhua Net http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-11/18/content_2235365.htm

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