CAIRO: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a five-point proposal to further expand cooperation between China and Egypt during a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Nazef here on Saturday.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) talks with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak at the presidential palace in Cairo November 7, 2009. [Agencies]
Wen said practical cooperation between the two sides had grown in the three years since his last visit, when the countries agreed to deepen strategic and cooperative relations. China has invested more in Egypt and people-to-people exchanges had also greatly increased.
The premier suggested the two sides should focus on the following five aspects when conducting cooperation in the future:
First, both countries should strengthen coordination with each other to bring success to the China-Egypt Suez economic and trade cooperation zone project, inaugurated by the two prime ministers after their first meeting. He said China is willing to introduce more capable Chinese companies with good credit to do business in the zone and invest more in Egypt.
Second, the two sides should promote cooperation in energy and infrastructure construction such as communication and transportation, and make steady headway in major projects, Wen said.
Third, the Chinese leader said both sides should take measures to counter the negative impacts of the global financial crisis and expand imports from each other to maintain a steady growth in bilateral trade.
Fourth, Wen suggested both sides should jointly explore markets in Africa, the Middle East and Europe using the two countries' complementary strengths to bring benefits for both on a wider scale.
Fifth, Wen proposed that exchanges between China and Egypt in cultural and educational fields should be deepened, especially exchanges among youth.
During the meeting, Wen also noted that, despite all the international and regional changes that had taken place, China and Egypt had always based their relations on the principle of mutual respect, mutual help and common development.
Since the establishment of strategic cooperative ties between the two countries 10 years ago, political mutual trust had been deepened and the cooperative fields expanded, which also helped enhance China's relations with the Arab world and Africa and boosted South-South cooperation.
"We are encouraged by all these achievements and are very confident about the future of bilateral relations," he said.
Nazef said the two countries had a traditional friendship and that he was grateful for China's assistance in Egypt's social and economic development.
He also spoke highly of the achievements made by both sides in such areas as politics, the economy and culture in the past decade.
Nazef expressed hope for further economic and trade cooperation between the two countries in the current global financial crisis, and welcomed more investment from Chinese companies in Egypt.
Egypt is willing to work with the Chinese side to advance the construction of the Suez economic and trade cooperation zone, strengthen cooperation in technology transfer and personnel training and jointly open up new markets, Nazef said.
After the meeting, both leaders attended the signing ceremony of agreements on economic, cultural and customs cooperation.
Wen is paying a two-day official visit to Egypt. He arrived in Cairo on Friday, and is to attend the fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, scheduled to open on Sunday.