EU vows to support Egypt in transitional phase

Catherine Ashton met top Egyptian general and vowed to support its economy.

Updated: Mar 14, 2011, 23:45 PM IST

Cairo: An European delegation led by
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton on Monday 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 Trinidad Jimenez, told mediapersons that
developments in Egypt, the assistance from Spain and the
European Union (EU) were discussed.

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,
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.

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, 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, Jimenez added.

Spain can meet the needs of the Egyptian government in
many field, 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.