President Nicos Anastasiades will discuss energy issues, economy, education and culture with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is due on the island on Monday on an official visit, he said on Saturday.
This will be the first ever official visit of an Egyptian President to the island, Anastasiades said, “despite the close relations that the two countries share since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus”. This will be el-Sisi’s second time on the island as he has already been to Cyprus to participate in a trilateral summit with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus, although it is his first official visit.
Anastasiades will receive the Egyptian president at the Presidential Palace on Monday morning and is to hold a dinner in his honour in the evening. El-Sisi will also meet House president Demetris Syllouris.
During the visit, Anastasiades is to return to el-Sisi an ancient Egyptian artefact dated to the 13th century which had been illicitly exported from Egypt after illegal excavations at a burial site there. Egypt had filed a formal request for the artefact’s repatriation, and the government decided it be delivered to the Egyptian president by Anastasiades during his visit to Cyprus.
Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that the Egyptian President’s visit is very important and that the goal is to hold regular meetings at ministerial level so that the two countries can address the challenges they are facing.
He also said that the visit is important given the developments in Lebanon, as there could be joint initiatives in the future to the benefit of Lebanon and all the countries in the region.
The Egyptian president will also participate in the fifth trilateral summit between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece which will take place on Tuesday in Nicosia.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will also be part of Tuesday’s meeting.
Nicosia, the president said, has developed excellent relations not only with its neighbours but also with all states in the region, the countries of the Arab Gulf and the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council.
Ambassador of Egypt to Cyprus, Mai Taha Khalil said that the historic visit of el-Sisi will create new dynamics in the relationship between the two countries and will provide new momentum to further promote and enhance cooperation on all levels.
Through intensive cooperation, Egypt and Cyprus can be “very important players in the field of energy and act as a regional hub to export natural gas to Europe and Asia”, the Ambassador said.
According to the ambassador, bilateral discussions are expected to focus on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, regional issues and on ways to intensify bilateral coordination. Economic cooperation and investment opportunities between the two countries will be discussed as well, she said, as the two presidents will participate in the first Cypriot-Egyptian Business Forum.
The Egyptian Ambassador said that experts from both sides are working hard to finalise several agreements of cooperation in different fields, to be signed during the visit. This will add to the excellent relations existing between Cyprus and Egypt, Khalil said.