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Tuesday, April 18, 2000, updated at 09:17(GMT+8)

Jiang Zemin Meets Egyptian Counterpart Hosni Mubarak

Jiang Zemin Meets Egyptian Counterpart Hosni Mubarak
Chinese President Jiang Zemin met Monday with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak and exchanged views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.

Mubarak welcomed and thanked Jiang for coming to Alexandria for the meeting at his invitation.

Mubarak, who had visited China seven times, said he treasures the relations with China, and expressed hope to visit China again in the future.

Jiang said he was very glad to meet Mubarak again, one year after their last meeting in China. He thanked Mubarak for inviting him to Egypt and meet in the world famous historic city of Alexandria.

The name of Alexandria, Jiang noted, was the first of an African city to be known to the Chinese. In as early as 120 B.C., envoys of the then Han Dynasty of China have arrived in Alexandria, which is a witness to the historic relations between China and Egypt. Mubarak spoke highly of the developments in bilateral relations, hailing the achievements of China's reform and open policy, which he said have been the focus of world attention. The field of future cooperation between the two countries will be even wider, he said. China has gained experience in establishing special economic zones and development zones, Mubarak said, adding that Egypt is willing to draw from China's experience in establishing special economic zones.

Both China and Egypt adopt the market economy, he said, welcoming Chinese enterprises to expand investments in Egypt as well as boost the mutually beneficial cooperation.

Mubarak said that Egypt, with its ancient civilization and rich tourist resources, warmly welcomes tourists from China. Mubarak said there has been excellent development of relations between Egypt and China, and Egypt will continue its firm pursuit of the "One China" policy and support China's reunification strive. He said Egypt supports and welcomes China's early entry into the World Trade Organization. Jiang expressed his appreciation of the Egyptian stances.

The Chinese president said that Sino-Egyptian relations can be summed up as "mutual understanding, deep friendship and comprehensive cooperation."

"We are full of confidence that our good relations will continue into the future," he added.

Jiang pointed out that the world is undergoing profound changes -- multipolarization has become an irreversible trend and economic globalization has been growing rapidly.

On the one hand, there has been an ease of the overall international situation, which is helpful to the settlement of some regional hot-spot questions; but on the other, the very existence of hegemonism and power politics causes instability in the world, Jiang said.

Therefore, he said, it becomes especially necessary and important for China and Egypt, as important developing countries, to solidify unity and cooperation in order to confront challenges and seek common development.

"Since the two countries forged strategic cooperative relationship a year ago, we have witnessed growing exchanges, closer coordination and deepened cooperation," Jiang said. "We expect this trend to continue," he added.

Jiang and Mubarak exchanged views on beefing up cooperation in trade, and science and technology. Jiang said that bilateral trade has been growing fast in recent years, indicating there is great potential in this field.

"I am interested in the development of Egypt's Suez Gulf Special Economic Zone," Jiang said, "the Chinese side is willing to cooperate with the Egyptian side in this project." "It is China's set foreign policy to consolidate and develop the long-term, friendly cooperation," he said.

Jiang expressed belief that, through joint efforts, the friendly cooperation between the two countries will further develop in depth and that new growth points will keep arising in bilateral economic and trade relations.

He said that with the development of China's economy, more and more Chinese travel abroad. "We believe that a growing number of Chinese tourists will come to Egypt," he added.

Mubarak briefed Jiang on the latest developments of the Middle East peace talks, especially on the Palestinian and Syrian tracks, and Egypt's stance as well.

Jiang said his visits to Israel and Palestine come at a time when major changes are taking place in the situation in the Middle East region.

Jiang expressed the hope that his visits and contacts with parties concerned would help push forward the peace march. Jiang said that during his talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, they all briefed him on the current situation in the peace talks and their respective stances on the peace-making.

The Chinese president said he emphasized on China's positions to both sides:

First, to achieve reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, and peace in the Middle East, is an inevitable trend of history. Such a trend not only serves the interests of the people of all countries in the region, but also contributes to world peace and development. Secondly, China upholds its traditional thinking of "Peace is the best policy." The settlement of the Middle East issue lies in peaceful negotiations rather than force, in cooperation rather than confrontation, and in mutual understanding and tolerance rather than mutual hostility and exclusion.

Thirdly, the Arab-Israeli talks should be based on the relevant U.N. resolutions and adhere to the "land-for-peace" principle. The two sides should conduct talks in an earnest and practical manner in the spirit that "Do not do to others what you don't want to be done to you." The two sides should implement all signed agreements so as to build up mutual trust and overcome difficulties and obstacles to advance the peace talks.

Fourthly, the Middle East peace process should be aimed at respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of all the countries in the region, safeguarding their national security, restoring the legitimate rights of Palestinian people, including their rights to establish an independent state, and enabling all nations to live in harmony.

Jiang said that all the parties concerned appeared willing and determined to speed up the peace talks. However, they are faced with lots of difficulties, which entail intensified efforts from the international community that has the responsibility as well as obligation to exert.

Egypt is an important country in the region and has been playing a unique role in pushing forward the Middle East peace talks, Jiang said, adding that the more difficulties and obstacles there are in the Middle East peace talks, the more important role Egypt plays. "China appreciates and supports Egypt, especially Your Excellency (Mubarak), in the efforts to continue to play an active and key role in the peace process," Jiang said.

China is willing to continue consultations with Egypt on the issue, strengthen coordination, and make joint efforts to realize a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Also present at the talks were Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen, State Councillor Wu Yi, Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Obeid, Minister of Defense and Military Production Mohammed Tantawi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Amr Moussa, Interior Minister Habib el- Adli, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Youssef Ghali. After the talks, Mubarak held a banquet in honor of the Chinese president.

Jiang made this special trip to Alexandria to meet Mubarak following visits to Israel and Palestine within a five-nation tour. He will travel on to visit Turkey, Greece and South Africa.

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Chinese President Jiang Zemin met Monday with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak and exchanged views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.

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