9 - 15 December 1999
Issue No. 459
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
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SHARM MEETINGS: President Hosni Mubarak met separately in Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday with Prime Minister Atef Ebeid, as well as with the director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and a delegation from the US Congress to discuss Egypt's economic development.
Speaking to reporters after the meetings, Prime Minister Ebeid said that USAID Director Bradley Anderson informed the president that the strides taken by Egypt in the field of development were "unprecedented" and were an example to be followed by other countries. Ebeid quoted an American official as saying that Egypt's efforts should be "supported and encouraged by the international community, but first and foremost by the United States".
Egypt is the second-largest recipient of US aid after Israel, and the US foreign aid budget for 2000 is earmarked at $735 million for this country. American aid is channeled to various development projects with the aim of building up an industrial base, promoting human resource development, and grooming youths for a better future and providing them with loans to finance small projects. "President Mubarak's directives are that foreign aid should be invested in projects whose return are speedy development and more job opportunities for young people," Ebeid said.
The prime minister continued that the delegation of US Congressmen conveyed a message of "high regard" for the president from their fellow representatives, and expressed admiration for the progress they had witnessed during their stay in this country. The delegation had already met with representatives of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and officials during their visit, flying to, and around, Egypt on the national carrier.
Mubarak's meeting with Ebeid focused on ongoing mega-projects, such as the Toshka and Sinai desert reclamation projects, as well as the industrial projects at the Gulf of Suez and East of Port Said. "We are currently working out a schedule of implementation and another schedule of funding," Ebeid said. "The president will follow up on both on a monthly basis." The prime minister explained that the two schedules aim to improve the management of the ambitious projects in order to achieve maximum growth.
During the meeting, Mubarak also approved the final draft of the new personal status law before it is sent to parliament for debate.