Egypt, Bulgaria discuss economic, political cooperation

Sami Hegazi
4 Min Read

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Maria Gabriel met on Saturday to discuss ways to boost economic and political cooperation between Egypt and Bulgaria, while expressing concern over the ongoing war in Gaza.

Madbouly expressed the Egyptian government’s eagerness to enhance bilateral relations and trade exchange with Bulgaria, highlighting the potential opportunities for economic cooperation in various sectors, such as food security, information technology, artificial intelligence, and renewable energy.

Madbouly suggested establishing a special zone for Bulgarian companies in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which would enable them to use Egypt as a gateway to the Middle East and Africa markets. He also proposed that Bulgaria could act as a hub for Egyptian exports to the European Union, serving as a logistics and storage base in South-Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Madbouly also addressed Egypt’s efforts to combat illegal immigration, stressing the close cooperation with the EU and expressing the desire to strengthen collaboration with Bulgaria in this regard.

On the regional level, Madbouly emphasized the negative impact of the Gaza conflict, which has increased the tension in the Red Sea and the wider region. He urged a swift solution to the conflict and a comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian issue, citing the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and the economic implications for the world.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke at a joint press conference with Gabriel, where he emphasized Egypt’s ongoing efforts to broker a humanitarian truce and secure the release of Palestinian and Israeli prisoners, aiming for a comprehensive ceasefire. He acknowledged the complexity of negotiations amid divergent interests, but said that Egypt remains committed to finding a resolution, given the plight of Palestinians, especially civilians.

Shoukry expressed alarm over the Israeli statements and military activities in southern Gaza, which could lead to a dire humanitarian situation. He urged adherence to international humanitarian law and cautioned against an escalation of military operations, which could have serious repercussions. He rejected any attempts by Tel Aviv to implement a systematic policy of displacement.

Shoukry and Gabriel also underscored the robust cooperation and coordination between Egypt and Bulgaria, which was reflected in the recent meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee in Cairo. They agreed to strengthen political dialogue, mutually beneficial relations, and cooperation in areas such as energy, agriculture, and artificial intelligence. They also expressed interest in advancing bilateral cooperation in energy and supporting the private sector, especially in terms of regulatory frameworks and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Both sides also addressed the geopolitical tensions globally, focusing on developments in Europe, the Balkans, and the escalating conflict in the occupied Gaza Strip.

The closing session saw the signing of agreements, including mutual exemption from short-stay visa requirements for diplomatic and mission passport holders. Additionally, a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in natural gas between the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy was signed.

Both sides agreed to hold the coming annual Joint Cooperation Committee meetings in Bulgaria in 2025.

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