Egypt President arrives on four-day State visit, first after 25 year

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New Delhi, Nov 16 (UNI) Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak arrived here this evening on a four-day State visit after a gap of 25 years, indicating an upswing in relations between India and one of the most powerful nations in the Arab world which together had founded the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Mr Mubarak, who was received at the airport by Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz, had visited India last in 1982 and 1983.

The Egyptian President will have his official engagements on Tuesday including delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on various bilateral, regional and international issues including the West Asia situation.

During the November 16-19 visit, the two countries are expected to sign three agreements, including an Extradition Treaty, and seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for boosting cooperation in several areas.

The two countries are also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to boost trade and investment ties, Egyptian Ambassador to India Mohamed Higazy said.

Mr Mubarak, who was given the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1995, has not received the award so far and will be presented it during the upcoming visit.

The External Affairs Ministry said, ''Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit.'' Mr Mubarak is accompanied by a large delegation, including Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Information Minister Anass Ahmed Nabih El-Fiqqi, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Tarik Mohamed Kamel Mahmoud, Minister for Trade and Industry Rasheed Mohamed Rasheed and other senior officials and businesspersons.

He will also meet President Pratibha Devisingh Patil besides holding talks with the Prime Minister.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani would call on the Egyptian President.

Ms Patil will host a State Banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary.

The Egyptian Ambassador said the delegation-level talks between Mr Mubarak and Dr Singh would focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in various areas, including IT, space, human resource and health.

On the trade front, the Indian investment in Egypt was expected to reach two billion US dollars soon from the present 500 million dollars, the Ambassador said.

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