Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak on Tuesday reiterated his support for the proposal by his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a union of European nations and countries along the Mediterranean rim.
Sarkozy's foreign affairs advisor Jean-David Levitte told journalists that Mubarak had told the French president of his "resolute support" for the Union for the Mediterranean during a working dinner with Sarkozy. ( dpa )
Levitte said the two leaders had discussed a number of issues, including the Mideast peace process, Lebanon and Iran, but the core of the talks had been the proposed union, which will presumably be founded during a summit in Paris on July 13, just after France assumes the six-month presidency of the European Union.
Levitte said that Sarkozy and Mubarak discussed the future heads of this union, and noted that Mubarak would make "an excellent possible co-president" representing the union's southern group of nations, while adding that nothing had been decided in this regard.
Earlier Tuesday, during an address to the French entrepreneurs' association MEDEF, the Egyptian president had also praised the project, saying, "I am confident that the French president will give momentum to this initiative."
Accompanied by his industry minister, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, Mubarak also urged French entrepreneurs to invest further in his country.
France was fourth-largest investor in Egypt in 2007, 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 by 2010.
High bread prices and resulting shortages sparked violent rioting in Egypt last month.