CAIRO: Slovenia welcomed Wednesday Egypt s decision to upgrade its diplomatic representation in its capital, Ljubljana, to the level of ambassador extraordinaire.
We are more than satisfied with the good news, Slovenian Ambassador in Cairo Borut Mahnic told Daily News Egypt.
Egypt opened a diplomatic office in Ljubljana headed by a charge d affaires earlier this year.
Mahnic met with Egyptian Ambassador-Designate, Ahmed Farouk, who had already flown to Slovenia Friday.
Slovenia opened an embassy in Egypt and assigned an ambassador to the country in 1993.
The Slovenian embassy in Egypt is the only high-level diplomatic mission in the Arab world and Africa, the ambassador noted.
Mahnic said his country, which would assume the rotating European Union presidency as of January 2008, is to receive Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit by the coming year.
Though the date of the visit has not been fixed yet, the Egyptian Foreign Minister usually pays a visit to the country that assumes the EU presidency, the ambassador added.
Slovenia s Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel visited Egypt last May as part of a tour to the Palestinian territories, Israel and the Gulf. In Cairo, Aboul Gheit and Rupel discussed bilateral relations and the situation in the region.
It was a kind of preparation for assuming the presidency [of the EU], the ambassador said, noting that Egypt which hosted the first Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting on Higher Education in May was also chosen to host a Euro-Med conference on Information Technology next year. Slovenia would preside over the European party in its capacity as the European Union president from January to June 2008.
Answering a query about other visits expected in the near future, Mahnic said that an invitation is forwarded to Minister of Transport Mohammed Mansour to visit Ljubljana to discuss areas of cooperation.
Mansour s counterpart, Janez Boi, visited Egypt last May.
The Slovenian ambassador said that the trade exchange between Egypt and his country stands at $50 million, $45 million of which are exports to Egypt.
Slovenia exports to Egypt consist of paper products, water pumps and chemicals while it imports from Egypt cotton, various petrochemical products, vegetables and fruits.
As for the priorities Ljubljana is to pursue during its presidency to the EU from January 2007 to June 2008, Mahnic said that the European Union s program has been already set by three countries: Germany, Portugal and Slovenia.
The main four goals of the Slovenian part of on the program are: the future of the EU including institutional reforms, energy, climate change and inter-cultural dialogue, he said.