The 2nd Summit of the Cyprus – Egypt Intergovernmental Committee for Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation was held today at the Ministry of Finance, Lefkosia, under the presidency of Cyprus’ Minister of Finance, Mr Harris Georgiades, and Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Mrs Sahar Nasr. The two Ministers also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two countries on Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation.
The Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Mr Marios Demetriades, also participated in the Summit. Ministers Demetriades and Nasr signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between Cyprus and Egypt on Protection and Return of Stolen or Illicitly Imported, Exported or Transferred Cultural Properties.
Also, Ministers Georgiades and Nasr signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Labour, while a Memorandum of Understanding for Enhancing Bilateral Investment Relations was signed by Minister Sahar and Mr Angelos Gregoriades, Deputy Chairman of CIPA. Finally, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association was signed by Mr Phidias Pilides, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Mr Mostafa Imbrahim, Businessmen Association.
Issues in the agenda of the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee included, inter alia, the general economic situation of the two countries and the developments regarding the bilateral economic, trade, investment, tourist and other perspectives of cooperation between the two countries. Also, the potentials for investment opportunities in fields of common interest were also examined.
In his statements to journalists after the signing of the Memorandum, the Minister of Finance expressed his pleasure for the successful completion of the negotiations and the signing of the Protocol. “Today’s Summit proved that our countries’ historic ties, as well as the friendship between our peoples, lead the bilateral cooperation and create the appropriate conditions for new steps in the Cyprus-Egypt cooperation. This close cooperation was supported through the strong political and personal relation of Presidents Anastasiades and Sisi, which led the relations of the two countries to the highest level.
The Protocol of Cooperation we have just signed registers the great potentials of cooperation in the existing fields of energy, tourism, merchant shipping, transports, agriculture, fishery, commerce and education, as well as in the new fields of research, protection of antiquities and the environment and investments.
As regards the issue of energy, Minister Georgiades expressed pleasure for the progress achieved in the field of hydrocarbons and especially the Agreement signed for the creation of a pipeline for the export of natural gas in Egypt and from there to other countries.
Mr Georgiades also referred to the cooperation of the two countries in the fields of tourism, air connectivity and cultural heritage protection.
Moreover, the Minister of Finance said that the Protocol signed today records the important effort made by the business world to enhance business activity in Cyprus and Egypt. “The two Governments strongly support the efforts of the private sector for investments both in Cyprus and Egypt”, he added.
As regards the Memorandum on labour issues, Minister Georgiades said that it aims at enhancing employment and ensuring safety and health at work in both countries.
Finally, the Minister of Finance thanked Dr Nasr for her presence in Cyprus and for what has been yet another important step for enhancing the political and economic ties between the two countries. “Let me say that we consider our relationship with Egypt as one of strategic importance. We consider Egypt as a valued partner and we remain committed to further expanding and enhancing our already excellent and close ties. I do believe that today we have made an important step in this direction”, he stressed.
On his part, the Minister of Transport, upon welcoming to Cyprus Dr Nasr, underlined that the signing of the Agreement between Cyprus and Egypt on the Protection and Return of Stolen or Illicitly Imported, Exported or Transferred Cultural Property will enhance the bilateral relations and the cooperation in the field of cultural property.
“Cyprus and Egypt, countries with rich archaeological culture, face similar issues, regarding illicit exportation and are very frequently requested to take actions for the return of stolen and illicit exported objects. The Agreement will provide the framework for the exchange of information on legislation for the protection of cultural property, especially with regard to the prevention of theft, clandestine excavation and illicit import, export or transfer, as well as relevant policies and measures implemented by the competent authorities of the two countries”, Minister Demetriades stressed.
Furthermore, the Minister of Transport expressed his conviction that with the implementation of the Agreement, the cooperation of the two countries will move a step forward enabling them to manage and protect in a much better way, our cultural heritage.
On her part, speaking in English, the Minister of Investment of Egypt said: “I am very happy to be among colleagues and friends, development and investment partners. Today –as I indicated to my colleague-, this is just the starting point of urging stronger partnership. We do consider Cyprus a strategic partner and a key partner for development. Moving forward, Egypt has been moving with an ambitious economic reform program, with a lot of social dimensions; we are also changing the entire legal and regulatory framework to welcome business into the country and further investments and industrialization with the main objective of creating inclusive and sustainable economic growth, job creation, focusing on lacking regions as we discussed.
I am very happy to see that the joint economic committee between Egypt and Cyprus meeting today, wrapping the benefits of the extensive work that has been made by the two delegations. The Committee has not met since 2007 and the fact that we are meeting today is an indication and a confirmation of the political and economic commitment in the highest level. Both countries, as a team, we are committed to move forward and also forge more partnerships.
This Agreements and Protocols are critical. I am very appreciative that we have reached agreement under the umbrella Protocol between the two countries, under which we can add more partnership with other Ministries that will join us next time.
We welcome our colleagues from Cyprus to have our next meeting in Cairo, as the agreements indicated. I also want, on behalf of the Minister of Antiquities, Dr …, to say that we are very grateful with the protection and return of stolen, illicit imported, exported and transferred of cultural property. This is something of great appreciation. It is not only the sharing of information, but also sharing of knowledge and experience.
Also, our Minister of Labour is very keen in getting his Memorandum signed. This is an area of skills development, educational training especially among youth. I am sure there will be a lot of mutual benefits for both countries.
Also, about investments, I would like to say that I am very fortune, because this is an Agreement I have been working with my friends from the General Authority of Investment. This is an Agreement, where I put also a lot of emphasis”./IBNA