CAIRO: Croatia voiced its appreciation at Egypt s decision to upgrade its diplomatic mission in Zagreb to the level of ambassador extraordinaire.
Croatian Ambassador in Cairo Drazen Margeta said that the long-awaited decision is appreciated.
Croatia opened its embassy in Cairo in 1993, the first in the Arab world.
Margeta extended his stay in Croatia to receive Egypt’s Ambassadress, Eman Moharram, at Zagreb’s airport on Aug. 23.
During her first week in Zagreb, Moharram met with President Stjepan Mesic, who expressed his intentions to strengthen ties between Croatia and Egypt.
The Egyptian ambassadress also met with high-level officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ambassador said.
This step will undoubtedly “increase bilateral relations in all domains, added the ambassador.
Moharram s arrival in Zagreb comes just before visits by a high-level Egyptian delegation scheduled in October. A ceremony will be held in tandem with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum to celebrate the start of production in an oil field whose concession was given to a Croatian company.
Situated near El Alamein, the field is expected to produce about 3,000 bpd of oil.
Margeta said trade exchange between Egypt and Croatia is currently $50 million. Egypt exports agricultural products and machinery to Croatia, and imports mainly wood.
The flow of tourists is strong both ways, with about 10,000 Croatians coming to Egypt annually and some 7,000 to 8,000 Egyptians traveling to Croatia, which has a population of only 4.5 million people.
Tourism makes up 20 percent of Croatia’s Gross Domestic Product, the ambassador noted. This year, Croatia received some 10 million tourists from all over the world.
Croatia s ambassador also noted that 70 percent of Croatian income relies on the service sector; airports, free zones, customs, warehouses, banking services and transportation.
He noted that Egypt could easily export its products from Rijeka seaport to many European countries.
An Alexandria-Rijeka maritime line was operational in the 19th century; and if it is re-opened, Egypt could access markets in Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Vessels can make the journey from Alexandria to Rijeka in two to three days, which would open opportunities for Egypt to export vegetables, fruit and other perishable products to Europe, he concluded.