LEAD ALL: Sisi-Xi summit gives further boost to Egypt-China strategic ties
By Gazette staff
BEIJING, September 1, 2018 — President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Saturday held a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping during which he hailed the historic friendship and fruitful co-operation between Egypt and China.
President Sisi also called for greater concerted efforts to promote ties between Cairo and Beijing in all domains, the Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency, Ambassador Bassam Radi, said.
Noting that Egypt and China maintain traditional friendship and a high level of mutual trust, and hold similar positions and closely coordinate with each other on major international issues, President Sisi said Egypt places priority on the comprehensive strategic partnership with China.
During the meeting, President Sisi said that over the past 60 years the two countries had maintained sound and steady development of bilateral ties that had set a model for Arab-Chinese relations.
Noting that the two countries agreed in 2014 to build a comprehensive strategic partnership, President Sisi said that Egypt had always treated and promoted its relationship with China from a strategic and long-term perspective.
"Egypt treasures its close ties with China," President Sisi told President Xi.
The talks were held after an official welcoming ceremony for President Sisi that witnessed the signing of five co-operation agreements between the two countries at the Great Hall of the People, Ambassador Radi said in press statements to Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA).
He quoted President Xi as telling President Sisi that he hoped that bilateral relations would enjoy continuous and sound development in various fields.
The agreements were in the areas of industry, energy, finance, transport, and space technology, Ambassador Radi said.
At the invitation of President Xi, President Sisi started a four-day state visit to Beijing, where he would represent Egypt at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation Summit (FOCAC), whose activities will begin on Monday.
President Sisi expressed his great appreciation of President Xi for inviting him to attend the two-day summit.
President Xi's invitation reflects the special bond between the two countries as well as their strategic partnership, he said.
The FOCAC Beijing summit will be held under the theme "China and Africa: towards an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation."
President Sisi said the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC demonstrated that China attached great importance to Africa's development. Egypt fully supports China in hosting a successful summit, he said.
“Egypt speaks positively of China for upholding a just stance on the Middle East issues and is ready to strengthen coordination with China in multilateral areas,” President Sisi said.
The Chinese leader welcomed President Sisi’s visit to Beijing, saying that it would promote greater cooperation between the two countries, bring new vitality to bilateral relations and open new horizons in friendly contacts.
“Egypt is a representative of Arab states, Africa, Islamic countries, major developing nations and emerging economies, with increasing influence in international and regional affairs,” President Xi said according to Xinhua news agency.
Noting that China highly valued developing the comprehensive strategic partnership with Egypt, President Xi pledged to continue to support Egypt in its efforts to maintain stability, develop economy and improve people's livelihood, in pursuing a development path in line with its national conditions, and in playing a bigger role in international and regional affairs.
China is willing to strengthen strategic communication and coordination with Egypt and safeguard their common interests, President Xi said.
He called on the two countries to continue to support each other on issues involving their respective core interests, timely exchange views on bilateral relations and major issues of common concern, share the
experience of governance, and strengthen exchanges at all levels and in various fields.
Stressing that China viewed Egypt as an important and long-term partner of co-operation in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi said China was willing to align the initiative with Egypt's Vision 2030 and Suez Canal Corridor Development Project, promote pragmatic co-operation between the two countries, and enhance collaboration in counter-terrorism and security areas.
Both as countries with ancient civilisations, China and Egypt should jointly promote dialogue and communication in this regard, President Xi said.
President Sisi responded by terming Egyptian-Chinese ties as a "strategic relationship" which he hoped to enhance during his visit to Beijing as well as his participation in the FOCAC summit meetings.
President Sisi is accompanied by a delegation of Egyptian ministers and business leaders who discussed investment projects with their Chinese counterparts.
“The Sisi-Xi summit talks touched on a host of regional and international issues of bi-lateral interests,” Ambassador Radi said.
Presidents Sisi and Xi discussed ways for pushing Egyptian-Chinese economic and trade relations to a unique height through continuous consultation and co-ordination between the two countries, Ambassador Radi said.
President Xi praised the Egyptian experience of economic reform and the steps that had been taken by the Egyptian government to encourage investment.
Talking about the Belt and Road Initiative, which China put forward in 2013 with an aim to revive the ancient Silk Road trade routes, President Sisi told President Xi that Egypt's unique geographical position allowed it to be a major transit point between the East and the West, and from the South to the North through the Suez Canal Axis, which was currently in the making to become a leading economic and industrial zone linking the world.
The Belt and Road Initiative can play an important role in promoting co-operation among the countries of the region, he said.
President Xi's initiative coincided with Egypt's mega project to double the throughput capacity of the Suez Canal, which was inaugurated in August 2015 and had a positive effect on the traffic of the global trade and shipping industry, 30 per cent of whose volume already flows through the canal.
This mega project, along with the development of the Special Economic Zone in the Suez Canal area, stand as a strategic connection for the Belt and Road Initiative that can consolidate the link between the East and the West and bring Asia, Africa, and Europe closer together and play as a hub for the Chinese investment in industries for these markets.
President Sisi said that Egypt backed President Xi’s initiative for reviving the historical Silk Road which passes through 56 countries and plans to strengthen co-operation among them.
As one of the earliest countries that support the Belt and Road Initiative, Egypt firmly believes that the initiative will create enormous opportunities for their bilateral cooperation as well as international and regional cooperation, he said.
President Sisi said Egypt will continue to support and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and, as the incoming holder of the African Union rotating presidency, it will also continue to promote co-operation between Africa and China.