Egypt’s prime minister to visit UAE next Sunday

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf will make an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next Sunday to refute reported tensions between Egypt and the UAE. Sharaf postponed the visit, originally scheduled to take place by the end of April. Relations between the two countries have been the subject of speculation against the backdrop of the trial of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak and problems experienced by UAE companies operating in Egypt, particularly Al-Futtaim Company.

Sharaf is scheduled to meet Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, as well as his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

He will also meet Emirati investors facing difficulties in Egypt to discuss their problems. Sources reported that Sharaf will relay reassuring messages, as Egypt will not take legal action if there proves to be illegalities in contracts the former regime concluded with them.

Egypt will try to solve problems in a friendly way as long as investors have not committed violations, Egyptian Minister of Justice Abdel Aziz El-Gendy told Al-Masry Al-Youm. He pointed out that this includes issues concerning Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal's holding company.

An Emirati cabinet official said many phone calls have been made between the Egyptian government and Al-Futtaim Company. The company was preparing an international litigation against Egypt to request US$3.5 billion as compensation for land it owned in New Cairo, after the Egyptian government demanded LE900 million as an additional price the Emirati side had to pay for the land.

The UAE is the largest Arab investor in Egypt, with the volume of Emirati investments here reaching US$10 billion.

Sharaf is scheduled to visit Bahrain briefly, where he will meet the emir, before heading to the UAE.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian community in the UAE prepared a list of suggestions and complaints to submit to Sharaf, which includes the absence of open channels to support the Egyptian economy. They expressed satisfaction about Sharaf's UAE visit, saying it will ease the tensions they have felt in the recent period. 

The list of suggestions includes a vision of a national project to give Egyptians living abroad the chance to contribute to projects that benefit their country, the chairman of Egyptian clubs in the UAE, Hassan Abdel Moneim, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

According to Abdel Moneim the proposals also include a demand to review the services provided by EgyptAir, Egypt's flag carrier airline, as many Egyptians have recently stopped using it due to high prices and the low level of service.

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