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Updated: March 14, 2011 19:11 IST

EU vows to support Egypt in transitional phase

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European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. File photo: AP.
European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. File photo: AP.

An Europen delegation led by EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton today met top Egyptian general running the nation and vowed to support its economy amid the transitional phase in the country.

The EU delegation, during the meeting with Field Marshal Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, the Head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, underlined its determination to support the Egyptian economy.

They also discussed local and regional developments.

An 18—day uprising against President Hosni Mubarak that began on January 25 forced him to quit on February 11.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf met Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez and discussed promotion of bilateral relations.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el—Arabi, who met his Spanish counterpart, told mediapersons that developments in Egypt, the assistance from Spain and the European Union (EU) were discussed.

Mr. Arabi said the visit will have a positive impact on the future of Egyptian—Spanish relations.

Speaking at a joint press conference in the capital, Mr. Jimenez said Spain was keen to improve relations with Egypt at both bilateral and EU levels. She said Spain wants equal strategic relations with Egypt.

Mr. Jimenez said her visit to Egypt was aimed at promoting Spanish and European relations with Egypt, adding that her talks in Egypt discussed boosting joint investments.

Spain and the EU back current changes in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world, Mr. Jimenez said.

Europe is keen to have new economic cooperation with Egypt within the framework of the neighbourhood policy adopted by the EU, the Spanish foreign minister said.

European partners like the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development can offer huge aid to Egypt and the Arab countries, Mr. Jimenez added.

Spain can meet the needs of the Egyptian government in many fields, especially the economic one, she said.

Spain is also ready to send experts to update Egyptians on its experiment with transition to democracy and organizing elections, she said.

She lauded the Arab League’s request to the UNSC to impose a ‘no—fly’ zone on Libya.

About her meetings with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed Baradei and youths linked to the ’January 25 Revolution’, she said they were all proud of the current changes in Egypt.

It is normal that any democratic process is marred by some tensions but Spain is confident that Egypt will overcome this stage because it has a powerful will to turn to democratic track, she added.

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