(dpa) - Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak on Tuesday expressed support for the proposal by his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a union of European nations and countries along the Mediterranean rim.
"I am confident that the French president will give momentum to this initiative," Mubarak said during an address to the French entrepreneurs' association MEDEF.
France sees Egypt as an important part in the planned Union for the Mediterranean. Sarkozy advisor Henri Guaino said earlier this year in Cairo that Egypt was an "essential, decisive and necessary" partner for the proposed union.
Accompanied by his industry minister, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, Mubarak also urged French entrepreneurs to invest furether in his country.
France was the number one investor in Egypt, he said, with its 3 billion euros (4.77 billion dollars) of investments having created some 40,000 jobs.
Mubarak also said that, despite the crisis over the rising cost of staple foods, he still intended to reduce Egypt's budget deficit to 4.5 per cent of GDP.
High bread prices and resulting shortages sparked violent rioting in Egypt last month.
Later Tuesday, Mubarak will hold talks with Sarkozy around a working dinner. The meeting is to focus on the Mideast peace process, the situation in Lebanon and Iran, as well as the Union for the Mediterranean.