We talk about Kazakhstan as "country of peace" - Ambassador of Egypt
Interview with Ms. Manal Yahiya al-Shinnawi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Kazakhstan, El.kz correspondent.
What was your first impression of Kazakhstan?
When I was appointed Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Kazakhstan, I was very pleased that I am Ambassador to this country. When I arrived here, I saw that Kazakhstan is the country with one of the most powerful economies in Central Asia, natural differences in the south, north, east and west, and other opportunities. In Egypt, we talk about Kazakhstan as a country of peace. When I came here, I saw that over 130 ethnic groups live in peace. That's really great. I pray at Hazrat Sultan Mosque and see these peaceful relations between people. As well as I attended the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which took place in Astana on September 14-15, together with the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, The Supreme Imam Ahmet Tayyp. We held many meetings. All this shows that Kazakhstan is a country where reign the peace.
What is the pace of Egypt's political and economic development at this stage?
Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power, Egypt has been going through a period of economic development. The President focused on giant projects that will ensure the development of the country. These projects include the construction of the New Suez Canal, the creation of the Suez Canal Free Economic Zone, ports, and other infrastructure investment and trade projects. It is planned to build 20 cities, including industrial cities with centers of finance, art, education, schools, recreation, such as Alamein, Mansoura, Dumiyat. As well as the new administrative capital of the country, 45 km from Cairo. Projects aimed at the development of rural areas are being implemented. It is planned to create conditions for 50 million people in rural areas. Construction of medicinecenters, 3 thousand schools, water supply projects, electricity generation, construction of the largest solar power station in the world near Aswan. In addition, the construction of roads, bridges, agricultural projects are under consideration.
What could you say about the initiatives of the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev?
We highly appreciate the initiatives of the President of Kazakhstan Tokayev. His efforts to renew the country, his initiatives are supported by the people. The President showed that the Parliament is strong, it has an impact, the government has a lot of responsibilities. We see the full support of the Kazakh people in the ongoing renewal course.
How is the reconstruction of Baibarys Mosque in Cairo?
The name Baibarys symbolizes the relations between Egypt and Kazakhstan. This personality played the important role in the development of the bilateral historical relations. Baibarys is the most famous, great sultan of the Mamlyuk era. His victories, particularly in the battles of Mansura against crusaders were not forgotten in Egypt. The Egyptian Ministry of Culture, the National Council for Historical Heritage, the Ministry of Tourism will complete the work on the repair of the mosque within the current year. This will be a great event and we expect the Kazakh side to participate at the opening ceremony.
What is the relationship between the two countries today?
Last year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Egypt and Kazakhstan.
In 2016, Egyptian President Abdulfattah el-Sisi paid an official visit to Kazakhstan and opened a new stage in the history of bilateral relations.
The sides also signed a memorandum of cooperation between the Business Councils of the two countries, a memorandum of understanding between "Kazakhinvest" and the Egyptian pharmaceutical company.
Bilateral relations have developed in various fields. Egypt is the main economic partner of Kazakhstan on the African continent.
We are interested in developing trade relations between the two countries. This year will be the 6th session of the Egyptian-Kazakh intergovernmental commission. Relations in the field of tourism are particularly developed. The number of Kazakhstani tourists to Egypt reached 150,000 per year, most of them go to Sharm al-Sheikh. 14 charter flights a week from different cities of Kazakhstan go to Sharm el-Sheikh. In addition, the airline "Air Cairo" will travel from Astana and Almaty four times a week. We hope that this will further develop relations between the two countries in different spheres.
The two countries have close parliamentary ties. An interparliamentary friendship group was established between the upper chambers of Kazakhstan and Egypt. Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan MaulenAshimbayev paid an official visit to Cairo last year. We are interested in further development of cooperation in this sphere.
Cooperation has been established in the areas of space exploration and others. It continues in the field of higher education, including theological education. Many Kazakh students study at Al-Azhar University. Within the framework of theEgyptian Agency of Partnership for Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kazakhstan has established close cooperation. The various courses organized by this organization will be attended by specialists of government agencies of Kazakhstan. For example, three Kazakhstanis will attend the courses on illegal migration and combat human trafficking.
We consider Kazakhstan a brotherly country with close ties between the two countries, and we always say that it is in the hearts of the Egyptians.