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Egypt National Day Observed in Seoul
Egyptian Ambassador to Seoul Reda El Taify (left) poses with his wife.

Egypt Celebrates this year the 54th anniversary of its glorious Revolution, which dates back to July 23, 1952, a unique revolution which peacefully changed the way of life in Egypt, removed occupation forces away from most of the Arab world, hoisted the banners of freedom and independence over the territories of the so called by that time "the third world" and made the interests of the overwhelming majority of our people the basis for the legitimacy and responsibility of the government.

On this occasion, it is with great honor that I convey, on behalf of the president, the government and the people of Egypt, warmest regards and best wishes to the president, the government and the people of the Republic of Korea. I would also like to express my gratitude for this opportunity to address the readers of The Korea Times and our Korean friends.

Thousands of years ago, the Egyptian and Korean Civilizations pioneered progress in their respective regions. Today, Egypt and Korea share the same position on many international issues. We strongly share the belief in free market economies, democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Both Egypt and Korea stand for peace and dialogue and reject force as a means to resolve international disputes. In this context, Egypt strongly supports the efforts of the Korean Government to establish peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

Egyptian Amb. Reda El Taify (center) poses with Saudi Arabia's Amb. Abdullah A. Al-Aifan (left) and South Afirican Amb. Stefanus J. Schoeman.

Egypt enjoys a deep-rooted civilization that began when the ancient Egyptians established on the bank of the Nile River the oldest central state with the first political and administrative systems in the history of mankind. On the land of Egypt, religions were revealed and prophets lived to sow the eternal values of tolerance and coexistence. It was the launching pad of movements of liberation and enlightenment throughout history and time.

The first voice proclaiming the oneness of God rang out of Egypt in the 14th Century B.C. through Akhnaton. Moses received the Ten Commandments in Egypt. The holy family when Christ was an infant found haven in Egypt. And later it was through Egypt that Christianity reached the rest of the world. Islam entered Egypt without conflict and many Egyptians embraced it as a religion of tolerance and peace and it was during this era that the first University known to the world, namely Al-Azhar, was established in Egypt.

In modern times, the world has derived from Egypt the institutions and modern administrative systems as well as the formulas of constitution, parliament, responsible government and judicial authority since the 19th century. Today, Egypt lives a new phase of political and democratic development aiming at more deepening of democratic practice, enhancing freedoms and laying down the state of law, institutions and respect of human rights.

Participants at the Egyptian Natioanl Day reception

Egypt is engaged in a rigorous process of domestic reform, a process that began many years ago, and is now accelerating. Our basic aim is a society that empowers its people, and offers opportunity to all. Egypt's political reform program constitutes a core component of our comprehensive effort to improve the quality of life of our people. Our efforts continue to focus on opening up new opportunities for our citizens to improve their livelihood within a competitive global environment. In this, we seek to build on our numerous achievements in the areas of good governance, sustainable economic growth, education and health care within a caring society in which social policies are central to our development goals.

On the regional level, Egypt continues to play a key role as a peacemaker in the Middle East. It has spared no effort to consolidate the peace process in the Middle East over the past years. We look forward with anticipation to the day when all the outstanding core issues are resolved, thereby paving the way for the realization of our vision for the future of the Middle East. A Middle East where all states of the region bear equal responsibilities and are accorded equal rights, where the legitimate rights of all parties including the Palestinians are equally respected and guaranteed.

Mrs. Taify, wife of Egyptian Ambassador to Seoul Reda El Taify (center) poses with her Korean friends.

Africa has been also a main focus of the Egyptian foreign policy since the 1952 Revolution when Egypt mobilized its potentials for achieving liberation and independence of the African countries suffering under the yoke of colonization. Following independence of the African countries, Egypt intensified efforts to group the African countries into one body to serve interests of the African peoples, the efforts that resulted in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, which has been recently replaced by the African Union. Since then, Egypt and other African nations have been working together to achieve the aspirations of the African peoples.

The Asian Continent occupies a priority in Egypt's foreign relations, as it ranks as the second commercial partner to Egypt after the European Union. Apart from the American investments in Egypt in the fields of oil and natural gas, the Asian investments, especially from India, Japan, China, and South Korea are estimated to be double the American investment in general.

The bilateral relations between Egypt and Korea lives its best era these days, since this year witnessed the historic visit of H.E. Roh Moo-hyun, president of the Republic of Korea, to Egypt last March. This visit was a real success and gave a great momentum to the relations of cooperation between both countries. During this visit eight agreements were signed in different fields and the fifth session of the Egyptian-Korean Business council and the second session of the IT joint committee were held.

Foreign envoys and their wives at Egyptian National Day party

In light of the huge potentials of the economies of Korea and Egypt, and through cooperation with major Korean economic organizations such as KOTRA, KCCI, FKI, KITA, KOIMA and KOICA, among others, Egypt looks forward to an increase in the bilateral trade volume, which reached $ 908 Million Dollars last year, and in the Korean Investments in Egypt which exceeded $ 600 Million Dollars with the beginning of this year in the fields of oil, Gas, Petrochemicals, Textiles, Electronics, Constructions, Automobiles and Financial Services.

The economic Policy and business environment in Egypt offer investors a myriad of attractive opportunities. In addition, a stable macroeconomic environment, a liberalized trade atmosphere and a freely convertible currency with full rights to effect all transfers abroad, is evidently featured in today's Egypt. New set of government policies, investment laws, and guarantees have been introduced with the purpose of fortifying and revitalizing the investment environment in Egypt.

Based on the talented and low-coast human resources of Egypt, investors have a unique opportunity to capture the 75 million person strong domestic market and a sizable portion of the lucrative regional market. Considering its geographical location, conditions in Egypt provide investors with an unparalleled platform for entering the Middle Eastern, African, European and Asian markets with equal ease, especially, after being a member to the COMESA, the Arab Free Trade Agreement and singing the Partnership Agreement with the EU.

Increasing the number of Korean tourists to Egypt is one of our priorities in dealing with Korea. The flow of Korean tourists to Egypt witnessed a steady increase from 22.000 in 2003 to 50.000 in 2005 and we are working on doubling this figure in the near future.

In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere wishes for a bright future for the Republic of Korea and the establishment of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Iranian Amb. Jahanbaksh Mozaffari (center) poses with Afghans Amb. Nabil Malek-Asghar (right) and United Arab Emirates's Amb. Abdulla Mohammed Al-Ma'ainah.

Facts about Egypt

Area: 1.001.450
Land Boundaries: Gaza Strip, Israel, Libya and Sudan
Coastline: Mediterranean and Red Sea
Capital: Cairo
Natural Resources: Petroleum, Natural Gas, Iron, Phosphates, Manganese, and Limestone.
Population: 77.5 million.
Population Growth Rate: 1.78%
Religions: Muslim (Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and others 6%.
GDP at Market Price: $100 Billion
GDP per capita: $1490
Reserves of Foreign Exchange: $21.2 Billion.
Labor Force: 20.7 million.
Industries: Textiles, Food processing, Tourism, Chemicals, Hydrocarbons, Constructions, Cement and Metals.
Agriculture Products: Cotton, Rice, corn, Wheat, beans, Fruits and Vegetables.
Exports: $11 Billion (2004).
Imports: $19.2 Billion (2004).
Export Commodities: Crude Oil, Petroleum Products, Cotton, Textiles, Metal Products and Chemicals.
Import Commodities: Machinery and Equipment, Foodstuffs, Chemicals, Wood Products and fuels.






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