Mubarak in Italy for summit with Berlusconi

Rome–President Hosni Mubarak’s official visit to Italy started yesterday. During his stay Mubarak will hold talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The two sides are expected to sign 18 agreements.

This is Mubarak’s first trip overseas since undergoing an operation in Germany in early March.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini highlighted Egyptian-Italian cooperation efforts and said the two countries were working together to organize the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona by the beginning of next June.

Frattini spoke of the Italian government’s appreciation for Egypt’s role in trying to solve the region’s problems, especially Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the Palestinian-Palestinian reconciliation. He described the meeting with Mubarak as an opportunity to affirm the good relationship between the two countries, saying that Italy is Egypt’s “first partner within the European Union.”

The Italian foreign minister said the meeting will discuss ways to promote bilateral relations, either through Italy’s participation in construction, or through cultural ties.

A high ranking delegation is accompanying Mubarak on his trip, including Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, Minister of Information Anas el-Fiqqi, Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid, Minister of Agriculture Amin Abaza, Omar Suleiman, the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, Zakareya Azmi, Mubarak’s chief of staff, spokesperson Suleiman Awwad, and Culture Minister Farouk Hosni.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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