Mubarak and Kocharian Discuss Relations, Middle East Situation

CAIRO (Armenpress)–Armenian president Robert Kocharian, who arrived in Egypt on Saturday for a three-day visit, on the first day of his visit met with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak for talks on bilateral relations, the latest developmen’s in the Middle East and Egyptian efforts to make a breakthrough in the Mideast peace process. The two leaders also discussed the situation in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear controversy and conditions in the Gulf. They also probed the situation in the South Caucasus with special focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. President Mubarak said Egypt hoped that the two countries would be able to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict in a manner that would bring stability to the South Caucasus. Speaking to a news conference after the talks with Mubarak the Armenian leader said his country was interested in continuation of technical cooperation with Egypt in tourism, police and diplomatic efforts through the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s Fund for Technical Cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States. He also said Armenia would like to open an Egyptian trade center in Armenia. During the visit several agreemen’s and cooperation protocols covering the judicial branch, fighting organized crime, customs and media were signed. An agreement was also signed to set up a joint businessmen’s council. President Kocharians itinerary in Egypt included meetings with Grand Imam of al-Azhar Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi and Arab League Secretary, General Amr Musa in addition to a visit to Luxor. Egypt was the first Arab and African country to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia after it announced its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Armenia will continue to support Arab issues at regional and international forums, said Robert Kocharian. Also on Saturday Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Abu-al-Ghayt met with his Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian. During the meeting, Abu-al-Ghayt reviewed the Egyptian vision of developmen’s in the Mideast, especially with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and the Iranian nuclear issue. For his part, the Armenian minister highlighted the importance Armenia attached to ties with Egypt. The Armenian minister also reviewed developmen’s in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, ties with the US and Russia and the impact of developmen’s of the Iranian nuclear program on the Caucasus region. Addressing a gathering of ambassadors from the Arab League after meeting with its secretary-general Amr Musa in Cairo on Saturday Armenian president Robert Kocharian commended the Arab nation for giving shelter to thousands of Armenia’s, who fled the Ottoman Turkey in 1915 to escape death camps and slaughter. Kocharian said the Arabs were the first nation to lend support to refugee Armenia’s. Kocharian said Armenia’s will never forget the kind treatment of Arabs, which he said is reflected in Armenia’s foreign policy. He explained that Armenia has been supporting Arab issues at the regional and international gatherings since becoming independent from the former Soviet Union. On April 15 Kocharian and his entourage laid flours at the Monumen’s to Unknown Soldier and at the grave of the former president Anwar Sadat. Kocharians itinerary in Egypt included also a meeting with Grand Imam of al-Azhar Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi. The latter emphasized Kocharians visit saying dialogue is important between different faiths.

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