India, Egypt express concern over rising oil prices (Lead)

July 3rd, 2008 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, July 3 (IANS) India and Egypt have expressed concern over skyrocketing fuel and food prices in the course of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s three-day visit to Egypt which concluded Thursday. During the course of a meeting between Mukherjee and his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the two sides emphasized the importance of food security and energy security, especially for developing countries like India and Egypt.

Mukherjee left Cairo for New Delhi Thursday afternoon.

According to an official statement issued after the visit, both countries agreed to broaden and deepen their bilateral relationship.

Both the ministers reiterated their commitment to diversify and deepen the scope of the economic, trade and investment linkages between the two countries.

The situation in West Asia also came up for discussion.

“India reiterated its consistent support for the Palestinian cause and called for early resumption of negotiations on all tracks under the Middle East Peace Process,” the statement said.

The two ministers also underscored the continuing consultation and co-ordination between the two countries in the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and other international forums. India and Egypt are among founder members of NAM.

Earlier, in a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm Al Sheikh, Mukherjee reiterated India’s commitment to revitalize NAM in the light of Egypt’s forthcoming chairmanship of the 118-member grouping next year. He also stressed the important of South-South cooperation.

Besides, the Indian minister talked about the need for sustainable development for developing countries in the context of climate change.

President Mubarak, referring to India’s economic growth, raised possibility of increased economic cooperation in the areas of IT, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and energy, external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

India is the largest importer of Egyptian products and became its fourth largest trade partner last year. Their bilateral trade volume stands at $2.3 billion currently.

“India’s prominent share in Egypt’s trade was stressed,” said the spokesperson.

Prior to his departure from Cairo Thursday, Mukherjee also had a meeting with secretary-genral of the Arab League Amre Moussa.

“The minister and the Arab League chief discussed the situation in the Middle East and issues concerning the Arab region during their meeting this morning,” an official in the Indian embassy in Cairo told IANS without giving more details.

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