FM Shoukry holds consultations with his Swiss counterpart

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held consultations on March 24, 2019, with Switzerland’s head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis to discuss means to develop bilateral relations in various fields as well as regional and international issues of common interest.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Counselor Ahmed Hafez stated that Minister Shoukry welcomed the visit of his Swiss counterpart to Cairo and expressed Egypt’s aspiration to enhance relations between the two countries through the exploration of various avenues for cooperation in different fields, and to partner for development during the coming period.

In this context, Hafez added that the consultations between the two sides tackled the main aspects of economic and trade relations between Egypt and Switzerland, as Shoukry stressed the importance of increasing Swiss investments in Egypt, which currently amount to around USD1 billion, noting that he looks forward to the upcoming visit of a delegation of Swiss businessmen to Egypt so they can get acquainted with the investment opportunities available in the Egyptian market, especially in the national mega-projects, thereby contributing to increasing the volume of trade exchange and mutual investments. In addition, Shoukry reviewed the main features of the comprehensive economic reform program currently being implemented in Egypt, which was praised by major international credit rating institutions, as well as the remarkable progress in the country’s investment climate. The Foreign Minister also noted the need to increase Egyptian exports to Switzerland and the importance of support by the Swiss side for SMEs, given Switzerland’s considerable expertise in this field.

On his part, Cassis expressed his pleasure at visiting Egypt as an important opportunity to further advance and develop the long-standing relations of cooperation with Cairo, particularly in light of the 110th anniversary of Egyptian-Swiss trade relations. He also affirmed that Switzerland is keen on pushing cooperation relations with Egypt to wider horizons.

Moreover, Shoukry expressed Egypt’s aspiration to benefit from Switzerland’s expertise in the field of technical education and vocational training, and to increase coordination between the concerned authorities in the two countries in this regard, as Egypt’s development agenda attaches a high priority at this stage to the advancement of Egyptian citizens, and in the framework of the strategy of the Swiss side to cooperate with Egypt during the period 2017-2020, so as to promote the socio-economic development in the country.

As for regional issues, Hafez said that the Swiss FM was keen on listening to Egypt’s vision on a number of issues of common concern. The Foreign Minister reviewed Egypt’s ongoing efforts aimed at achieving Palestinian reconciliation, and stressed the need to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, highlighting the crucial role of UNRWA in this regard. The meeting also examined the latest developments in both Syria and Libya. In this regard, Shoukry emphasized the Egyptian vision stipulating the importance of reaching political solutions to all crises in the region, in a manner that ensures the preservation of the Nation-State and its institutions.

Shoukry also reviewed the efforts exerted by the Egyptian state to combat illegal immigration, as Egypt has been able to stop illegal immigration flows from Egyptian coasts since September 2016, not to mention the burdens it shoulders to deal with the increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers. In this regard, he affirmed that Egypt addresses the issue of refugees from a humanitarian perspective and that it is keen to fully integrate them into the Egyptian society, including their benefiting alongside citizens of all public services. In this context, Shoukry emphasized the importance of supporting the Egyptian state in its efforts to provide basic services to the refugees and asylum seekers. The Swiss FM agreed, on his part, and expressed his appreciation for the Egyptian side’s efforts in tackling illegal immigration, while affirming his country’s desire to support Egypt and Egyptian efforts in this regard.

In the same context, Shoukry reviewed the Egyptian government’s role in eradicating the phenomenon of terrorism from a comprehensive perspective, stressing the importance of concerted international efforts against the activities of terrorist groups, in addition to eliminating up their sources of financing and not providing safe havens to their elements.

Hafez concluded by noting that Shoukry expressed Egypt’s aspiration to expand cooperation prospects with Switzerland in the field of protection of cultural heritage, while stressing the importance of continued cooperation of the Swiss side in this field, especially in terms of repatriating Egyptian artifacts that were illegally smuggled out of the country.

Source: State Information Service Egypt