AL NAJJARI TO RADIO LEBANON: LEBANON, EGYPT TO PLAY MAJOR ROLE AMID REGION’S MULTIPLE CHALLENGES

“The July 23 revolution is a commemoration of the independence of the Egyptian and Arab political decision, which brings generations back to memorable moments in the history of Arabs,” said the ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Nazih al-Najjari in an interview with the Radio Lebanon.

Al-Najjari commented on the most-recent visit by Lebanese Information Minister, Melhem Riachy, to Egypt, praising the latter’s keenness on “meeting with Egyptian media and political officials on the sidelines of his participation in Arab meetings.”

Commenting on the position uttered by Minister Riachy during the Egypt visit, whereby he assured that “the near future will witness a return of the region’s renaissance, and Lebanon and Egypt will play a significant role in this East,” the ambassador said “Certainly, Egypt and Lebanon had a major role in the 50s and the 60s’ renaissance and way before that, and so, the two countries are expected to play an important role in the next phase as the region suffers difficulties and faces multiple challenges.”

Uttering optimism thereon, he noted that the Al-Azhar meeting on Freedom and citizenship was an example of such an effective role, as “it focused on the value of coexistence and the idea of attachment to the homeland.”

“The Lebanese participation [in the Al-Azhar meeting] was very important and was the product of a joint Egyptian-Lebanese effort to display the values of tolerance and co-existence in practice. This meeting was followed by an important event in Lebanon held at the University of Louaize under the patronage of Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, ending with the ‘Louaize Declaration’ which was built upon the Al-Azhar recommendations,” he said.

Najjari went on to assure that efforts were underway “as we seek to have a real impact on the views of the Egyptian and Lebanese peoples, as well as on the Arab peoples in general, over the importance of coexistence between different components of our societies.”

“Together we can make major achievements,” he assured, underlining the common values of coexistence between Muslims and Christians, whether in Lebanon or in Egypt.

“These values are a great blessing that we shall preserve, because the region is going through a stage where these values in particular are in great danger.”

He highlighted, in this context, “the responsibility of States, civil society and the media to maintain coexistence,” noting that “some media outlets are going after incitement, and this issue ought to be addressed, () in cooperation with Minister Riachy, who has already put forth some suggestions in this regard.”

The diplomat’s interview also touched on the commercial relations between the two countries, whereby he noted that “trade activity is valued at one billion dollars yearly. There is a possibility of opening the Egyptian markets to some Lebanese products, such as medicines.”

On tourism between Egypt and Lebanon, al-Najjari stressed the importance of the tourism industry, saying “we are working with the Lebanese Embassy in Cairo on its development.”

“Tourism from Lebanon to Egypt is heavy. We are under constant pressure to issue visas. In the first half of 2017, the rate of visas granted to Lebanese has increased by 20 to 25%. On holidays, 100 planes flew from Lebanon to Egypt and Sharm el-Sheikh within four days,” he said, adding that the Lebanese who are over 50 or under 16 years old can travel to Egypt without a visa.

Source: National News Agency