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Pahor and Egyptian Counterpart Pledge to Boost Cooperation

Cairo, 15 December (STA) - Prime Minister Borut Pahor began a two-day official visit to Egypt on Tuesday by meeting his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Nazif. Pahor pointed out after the talks that this was the first visit of a Slovenian government to Egypt and presented a landmark in political and business relations.

Egypt is a friendly country and the most important Slovenian economic ad political partner in the region, Pahor, who is accompanied by a strong business delegation, said in a joint statement for the press.

Given their geopolitical position, the two countries can serve as each other's springboard - Slovenia to Egypt for EU countries and the former Yugoslav region, and Egypt to Slovenia for the Arab world and Africa.

The pair also exchanged their views on the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East and touched on the Western Balkans.

"We are interested in Egypt's views on these issues," Pahor said. He added it was important that Slovenia has friends not only in the western but also in the Arab world.

Nazif said that the visit of the Slovenian delegation was a follow-up to the visit of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Slovenia two months ago. He called for a further strengthening of political and economic ties and for investments by Slovenian companies in Egypt.

With more than EUR 80 million of potential consumers, Egypt has an open economy and provides for good access to third markets, Nazif said. He added that the agreements signed today presented a good framework for future cooperation.

Slovenia and Egypt signed a convention on avoidance of double taxation and income tax evasion prevention, an agreement on maritime transport, a memorandum on cooperation in farm products trade, and a memorandum on cooperation between the health ministries.

Pahor, backed by a 80-strong business delegation and four cabinet ministers, is also to attend a Slovenian-Egyptian business conference today, and open two exhibitions.

On Wednesday Pahor is scheduled to meet Amr Musa, the secretary-general of the League of Arab States.

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