Egypt coaxing Russia to set up shop in local industries

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

Associated Press

MOSCOW: Egypt is offering incentives in an attempt to lure Russian companies to set up operations there in pharmaceuticals, energy and other industries, President Hosni Mubarak said Thursday on a visit to Moscow.

The Egyptian leader met with President Vladimir Putin and told reporters afterward that he hoped the special economic zone for Russian companies in Egypt would give a boost to trade ties and also increase cooperation in nuclear, space and other high-tech sectors.Russian officials said they would bid on contracts to build nuclear power plants in Egypt.

The zone will be open to a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals, oil and gas industries and other sectors, Mubarak said.

During Mubarak s visit, Putin encouraged Egypt to become more involved in the efforts of Russia and the other members of the so-called Quartet of world powers trying to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Quartet will only benefit if influential regional powers, including Egypt of course, join this work, Putin said at a news conference after the talks.

The Egyptian government in particular could play a vital role in establishing contacts between Palestine and Israel and in bringing much-needed accord in the Palestinians ranks. The other members of the Quartet are the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Boris Alyoshin, the head of the Russian Federal State Agency for Industries, said that Egypt had promised to offer tax preferences for Russian companies and allocate a territory for them to create high-tech businesses.

Alyoshin also told reporters that Russia hopes to win contracts for building nuclear power plants in Egypt. We undoubtedly will take part in the tender and I think we have good chances to win, he said.

Russian-Egyptian trade reached $1.6 billion in 2005. In the first eight months of this year it rose by more than 50 percent over the same period last year to more than $950 million.

Mubarak, who recently lavished Putin with praise and urged him to run for a third term in 2008 despite a constitutional two-term limit, spoke warmly of him Thursday. I feel a strong connection between us, Mubarak said.

Putin also hailed Mubarak as an old friend. Mubarak, a former military pilot, received his training in the Soviet Union and graduated from a military academy in Moscow in the 1960s.

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