Visit to Egypt by Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba
Meeting with Speaker of
the People’s Assembly El-Katatni
Courtesy call to
Prime Minister Al-Ganzoury
Working lunch with
Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr
On Thursday, May 3, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held meetings with Dr. Nabil El Araby, Secretary General of the League of Arab States; Dr. Mohamed Saad El-Katatni, Speaker of the People’s Assembly; Dr. Kamal Al-Ganzoury, Prime Minister; and Mr. Mohamed Kamel Amr, Minister of Foreign Affairs (working lunch). The overview of the meetings is as follows.
I. Meeting with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States El Araby
(1) The two sides confirmed that they would strengthen cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, and culture, and agreed to explore mechanisms to promote dialogue, particularly in the field of politics. The two sides also confirmed that they would cooperate closely to ensure a successful 3rd Japan-Arab Economic Forum in December 2012.
(2) The two sides exchanged views on peace in the Middle East, the situation in Syria, and the Middle East weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-free zone.
II. Meeting with Speaker of the People’s Assembly El-Katatni
(1) Minister Gemba invited Speaker El-Katatni to visit Japan. Speaker El-Katatni expressed his appreciation for the invitation. He stated that he accepted the invitation with pleasure, as Egypt attached importance to the balance between the East and the West and thus looked forward to learning much from Japan. He said that he would like to arrange for the visit to Japan at an appropriate time.
(2) Minister Gemba stated that the Assembly was fulfilling an important role in the current transition period and that the role of the Speaker was particularly vital. Based on this recognition, he communicated that Japan stood ready to extend human resources development support for Assembly staff if requested by Egypt. In response, Speaker El-Katatni highly commended the Minister for making the visit during this critical period for Egypt, and conveyed his appreciation for Japan’s offer to provide human resources development support for the Assembly.
(3) Regarding the democratization process, Minister Gemba stated that a stable Egypt was essential and that Japan would support the democratization process, noting that Japan would provide support by leveraging the areas in which Japan excelled at, as well as Japan’s experience with post-war reconstruction, which is suited to the present situation in Egypt.
(4) Speaker El-Katatni stated that a critical problem currently facing Egypt was the economy and that Egypt was very grateful for the cooperation received from allies and friends including Japan in such times, including economic assistance and investment. Speaker El-Katatni stated that as Japan especially had a wealth of experience in industry and other sectors, Egypt would be grateful if Japan could transfer its experience to Egypt, such as through education and human resources development.
III. Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Al-Ganzoury
(Also attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr, Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga, and Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour)
(1) At the outset of the meeting, the Egyptian side conveyed its appreciation for Japan’s assistance to date as a whole, while noting that examples such as Japan’s assistance for the construction of an opera house, a pediatric hospital in Cairo, the Suez Canal Bridge, E-JUST, and the nearby Cairo Metro Line No.4 were no more than a sample of the total assistance.
(2) Minister Gemba said he expected that the historical transformation in Egypt would advance peacefully and prove to be fruitful. At the same time, he stated that Egypt was a key power in the Middle East region and that Egypt’s peace and stability were equivalent to peace and stability in the entire Middle East region, and furthermore, contributed to the realization of peace all over the world. Minister Gemba stated that in this context, Japan would like to support Egypt’s own efforts while leveraging Japan’s experience with post-war reconstruction and the areas in which Japan excels.
(3) Minister Gemba also discussed the issue of import restrictions, noting that while some of the restrictions had been eased, he hoped Egypt would continue to make efforts toward the removal of all restrictions. Prime Minister Al-Ganzoury stated that although this issue was subject to the review of experts, he too would strive to make progress toward the swift removal of all restrictions.
(4) Regarding the political situation in Egypt, Prime Minister Al-Ganzoury stated that while the present situation was very challenging, the Government would give the greatest priority to the restoration of security and would endeavor to revitalize the economy while ensuring the stability of security.
IV. Working Lunch with Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr
(1) Minister Gemba started by conveying Japan’s readiness to extend an array of support to the newly formed Egypt, while also touching on the contents of his morning meetings (with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States El Araby and Speaker of the People’s Assembly El-Katatni). As he discussed in his meeting with Speaker of the People’s Assembly El-Katatni, Minister Gemba stated that Japan stood ready to extend support for the training of the Secretariat staff of the Assembly. In addition, he stated that the dispatch period of the high-level experts dispatched from Japan to the Ministry of Planning would be extended, and that he hoped Egypt would utilize the funds provided by ODA loans to support small- and medium-sized enterprises. Minister Gemba also proposed to swiftly hold a working-level meeting of an economic working group for the enhancement of bilateral economic relations. Minister Amr agreed with the proposal and said he wished to realize it as soon as possible. Minister Gemba stated that Japan would like to support the reforms of Egypt in a capacity similar to that of a running mate in a marathon.
(2) With regard to the regional situation, an exchange of views took place on the issue of peace in the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear issue, the Middle East WMD-free zone, Sudan, among other issues. Minister Gemba described the contents of his meetings with VIPs on the occasion of his visit to Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan. Minister Amr explained the diplomatic efforts carried out by Egypt with respect to the problems in South and North Sudan.
(*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original version in Japanese.)
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