President Purvanov on Official Visit to Egypt

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President Purvanov on Official Visit to Egypt

President Georgi Purvanov opened a three-day official visit to Egypt on Sunday at the invitation of his counterpart Hosni Mubarak. This is the first presidential visit in bilateral relations in over 30 years, BTA reported.

Today Purvanov will meet with President Mubarak, with Prime Minister Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Nazif and the Speaker of the Shoura Council, Mohamed Safwat El Sherif.

The sides will sign a protocol to the agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investment, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the defence industry and a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in irrigation.

Purvanov is in Egypt with Economy and Energy Minister Peter Dimitrov, MPs and deputy ministers of foreign relations and agriculture.

The two countries' diplomatic relations date from February 3, 1926, and were broken during World War II until 1947, and between December 1978 and December 31, 1984.

Egypt is Bulgaria's top trading partner among the Arab countries. In recent years it has been the biggest importer of Bulgarian goods in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2007, two-way trade totalled 92.5 million dollars, up nearly 49 per cent on 2006.

Agriculture, the energy industry (import of natural gas and oil from Egypt), tourism, military economic cooperation (supplies and joint production), pharmaceuticals and health care are among the priority areas for cooperation. In 2007, over 8,400 Bulgarians visited Egypt, up 24 per cent on 2006, and over 1,600 Egyptians visited Bulgaria.

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