Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Egypt: Assistant Foreign Minister, Ambassador Wafaa Basim, holds talks in Brussels with EU Senior Officials

Assistant Foreign Minister, Ambassador Wafaa Basim, held high-level talks with officials of the European Union's Institutions on October 22nd, 23rd in Brussels where she met with Mr. Robert Cooper, Director-General for External and Politico-Military Affairs in the European Council and Mr. Eneko Landaburu, Director General for External Relations in the European Commission. She also held extended talks sessions aiming to coordinate and plan policies on issues of common concern to both Egypt and EU, most importantly the peace process and means to improve Palestinians' living standards.

Talks tackled the current activities meant to boost relations between Egypt and EU according to the paper presented by Egypt to the European side during the participation of Minister of foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit in the Egypt-EU Partnership Council (Luxemburg, April 2008), as the EU welcomed boosting relations with Egypt, the largest country in the region.

Assistant Foreign Minister also discussed the preparations currently held for the ministerial meeting of the "Union for the Mediterranean" scheduled on November 3rd and 4th in Marseille. She demonstrated steps taken by Egypt to activate the Paris Summit resolutions, which was held on July13th. The European Officials, on their part, highly appreciated the great role played by Egypt and President Mubarak to boost cooperation between the two sides of the Mediterranean. They emphasized that the co-presidency of the Initiative between President Mubarak and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy reflects the appreciation of Europe, and the entire Euro-Mediterranean region, for Egypt and President Mubarak's role on the regional arena.

The extended talks session also discussed all regional and international issues of common concern, including the current international financial crisis, where the European officials pointed to its impacts, not only on the common citizen, but also on the general western views on the market economy. The recent crisis has affirmed the role of the state in managing the economy and the need not to leave it totally and absolutely to the market alone. This was crystal clear in the way many western countries interfered to treat the crises which hit many of their giant corporations and banks.

Furthermore, Bassim's talks with the European Council officials tackled the Sudanese file, where she affirmed the importance of preserving the sovereignty of Sudan and demonstrated the Egyptian efforts in this concern. Talks also dealt with the latest maritime piracy, and the importance of dealing with the issue through coordination with the regional countries.

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