Canadian PM praises Mubarakšs keenness on economic reform in Egypt
Egypt-Canada, Politics, 4/13/2000
President Hosni Mubarak and Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien yesterday underlined the importance of promoting economic relations between the two countries.
During their meeting, Mubarak and Chretien thrashed out the agreements signed between the two countries to activate bilateral trade as well as training and technical cooperation.
The Canadian Prime Minister praised Egypt's role in the Middle East peace efforts and expressed his country's readiness to contribute in any way possible to removing the obstacles impeding the realization of peace.
He told a press conference after the meeting that Egypt had tremendous economic potentials which need to be exploited, adding that Canada and Egypt could cooperate in this regard.
He added that his talks with President Mubarak also covered international developments, especially the Middle East peace process in which Egypt is a major player.
"I listened to the President's assessment of the situation in light of his recent meetings with Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak," he said, voicing hope that the two sides would eventually be able to hammer out an agreement in the near future.
They also discussed the deadlock in Israel's talks with Syria and Lebanon. The talks with Syria are still stymied over the issue of controlling water resources in the occupied Golan Heights.
Chretien, who is visiting Egypt as part of a regional tour, said that he sensed a sincere desire to achieve peace in the area. He added, however, that peace should be achieved after catering for the interests of all the parties concerned.
"I also know that President Mubarak is strongly committed to achieving peace in the region. He is certain that comprehensive peace is the only way to achieve prosperity in the region," he added.
Chretien also emphasized that his country welcomed Israel's proposal to withdraw from south Lebanon, adding that this was a positive step in the right direction.
"The question now is how can the UN assist in this situation to settle the controversy over the Golan Heights as well in order to guarantee stability in the area," he said.
The Canadian Prime Minister said this country was one of the earliest countries to dispatch peace-keeping forces to the Middle East. The first contingent arrived in the region shortly after the tripartite aggression on Egypt in 1956.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Atef Ebeid, said he and his Canadian counterpart agreed to increase exchange volume trade between the two countries from $200 million to at least $1 billion over the next five years.
Ebeid said he was optimistic about the possibility of achieving this target, adding that Egypt has a great variety of products which could be exported to the Canadian market, especially textile products.
He said the Canadian Prime Minister's talks with President Mubarak also focused on ways of enhancing agricultural cooperation and the possibility of transferring advanced agricultural technologies to Egypt.
Ebeid and Chretien earlier attended the signing ceremony of a bilateral agreement designed to support the Ministry of Economy to develop policies, legislation and regulations needed to enhance the growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises. According to the agreement, Canada will pay up to 5 million Canadian dollars towards this objective.
The two sides also signed other agreements expanding the scale of cooperation in environment preservation and allowing for the export of Egyptian potato seeds to Canada.
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