Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)
Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Portugal’s president visits Egypt

President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was in Cairo over the weekend, reports Reem Leila


 Al-Sisi and Sousa at the presidential palace in Cairo last week
Al-Sisi and Sousa at the presidential palace in Cairo last week

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi hosted Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for a three-day state visit to discuss ways to boost cooperation. It was the first visit to Egypt by a Portuguese president in 24 years.

The visit demonstrates the two countries’ commitment to work on strengthening relations and followed President Al-Sisi’s trip to Portugal in November 2016. It, too, was the first visit by an Egyptian president to Portugal in 24 years.

President Al-Sisi underscored Egypt’s keenness to advance aspects of bilateral cooperation, notably in the economic and trade fields. 

President Rebelo de Sousa stressed that Portugal is committed to promoting cooperation with Egypt across all areas, particularly given Cairo’s key role in reinforcing security and stability in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

Talks between the two presidents touched on ways to bolster bilateral relations following the convening of the first meeting of the Egyptian-Portuguese Joint Committee in Cairo in October 2017. The meeting was attended by businessmen from the two countries.

President Al-Sisi encouraged Portuguese companies to capitalise on investment opportunities offered by national mega projects currently being implemented and increase trade and investment between the two countries.

The two presidents witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding to facilitate cooperation between the Suez Canal Economic Zone and Aicep Global Parques, a Portuguese company specialising in the management of industrial parks. A protocol for cooperation in the field of education and culture was also signed.

Addressing business leaders from both countries during an Egyptian-Portuguese Business Forum organised by the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Commerce and the Portuguese Agency for Trade and Investment, Sousa said his country had suffered from similar economic troubles to Egypt in the past but managed to overcome them. He said he was optimistic Egypt would do the same.

President Sousa went on to express appreciation for Egypt’s successes in the war on terrorism and stressed his country’s support for Egypt’s efforts.

The two presidents also discussed the consequences of illegal immigration. They agreed on the importance of addressing the root causes of the problem and of adopting a comprehensive package of policies that addresses the political, economic and social conditions which have led to the mass influx of migrants to Europe. That package should, they said, include concerted efforts by the international community to reach settlements to ongoing crises in the region.

The Egyptian-Portuguese talks also focused on recent regional developments and other international issues of mutual interest. There was an alignment of views over the need to adhere to political solutions to peacefully resolve ongoing crises, prioritise the ending of humanitarian suffering in crisis-hit countries and reinforce efforts to restore stability.

Sousa met with the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church and House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal. He also visited Al-Azhar University where he delivered a speech to Muslim clerics and students addressing the relationship between east and west and ways to promote coexistence and dialogue among the members of different cultures and religions.


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