Baku. 23 December. REPORT.AZ/ Report News Agency presents an interview with Ambassador of Egypt to Azerbaijan, Suzanne Gamil.
- How do you estimate the relations between the two states? What are you goals as an Ambassador of Egypt to Azerbaijan?
- Regarding our relations, you know that our countries support each other in all international organizations. Because I don't feel any need to explain something to Azerbaijan, and this is the same with Egypt. Authorities already understand each other very well. But I'd like to emphasize on trade and economical ties. I feel, that both countries are promising and they need to increase economic relations. I want to organize a meeting between businessmen of Azerbaijan and Egypt to discuss opportunities and potential of both countries, to know what to export or import. This is one of my main goals here.
The second issue is to improve cultural relation between both two countries. Azerbaijanis know many things about Egypt but the lack of information doesn't help us, to know each other, especially in Cairo. People there don't know about Azerbaijan, where is it located, they don't know about main issue of the country - Nagorno Karabakh. Our mission is to increase the knowledge about Egypt and Azerbaijan in both countries.
- What can you say about turnover? Which spheres of bilateral ties were more active?
- We import oil and gas from Azerbaijan, but this is not enough. We need to arrange a meeting with businessmen of Azerbaijan, so they could import from Egypt, let's to say medicine, or vegetables and fruits. This will be also one of the main things.
Speaking about trade turnover, we topped at 2011 before the revolution in Egypt with the level 1 billion dollars and positive balance belonged to Azerbaijan.
- How is the situation in country after the revolution in 2011?
- Well, the security situation now improved. You can hear news about bombings, but I think, this is normal, you can not defeat at once all the terrorists, because, terrorism is something that you can not see, it is like a ghost, you don't know from where they will come and when. It takes time, but anyway, steps, taken by the Egyptian police make the situation to improve. You can walk safely in the streets.
Concerning the issue of Russian aircraft, it affected much our economy and tourism but we hope the situation will get well. Such thing can happen anywhere, so it doesn't mean, that Egypt is not a safe place. Tourists are still having leisure in Sharm al Sheikh and Khurgada and they live normally.
- There is no direct flight between Azerbaijan and Egypt. What steps are going to be taken in order to establish these flights and attract Azerbaijani tourists?
- This is the result of lack of information. Most of people in Azerbaijan know about ancient history of Egypt. If you start to write more about Egypt and the situation there, about resorts, because we have a lot to offer. We have remnants of Roman empire, the biggest museum in the world.
Concerning the flights between the two countries, we have already signed contract with Azerbaijani countries that Air Cairo will launch flights. And we supposed to make a meeting this month and already fixed the dates, but Air Cairo postponed it because of well know reasons.
- What can you say about cooperation in humanitarian sphere? How many Egyptian students studying in Azerbaijan?
- There were many students, approximately 30 students from Egypt studying in Azerbaijan before. Now the number dropped and there are 3 or 4 students from Egypt studying here.
- Egypt is one of the leading countries in Muslim world. What does your country offer to combat ISIS and restore stability in the Middle East?
- As you know, Egypt was participating at Vienna-2 discussions. Our political position is that we have to defeat ISIS and then we can discuss about the future of Bashar al Assad. This is not the main topic of Egypt. The main concern for us is refugee crisis and ISIS.
Regarding Libya, we support the government and Libyan army. And you know that there is embargo to sell arms to Libya, but we are against this decision.
Regarding Palestine, we always supported Palestine for long years and this is the main topic in our foreign policy. You know, each country works with the circles of interest and the main circle for Egypt is Arabic circle. We always support Palestine and always negotiate between Fatah and Hamas to have a one opinion regarding Israel.
- And what's the position of Egypt on Nagorno-Karabakh issue?
- We were one of the earliest countries to recognize independence of Azerbaijan from Soviet Union. When this problem occurred we supported Azerbaijan in UN and OIC. We recognize the sovereignty of Azerbaijan over these lands and can not accept that it can be divided.
- Can we expect any top level visits from Egypt to Azerbaijan?
- As you know, President of SOCAR (The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) Rovnag Abdullayev visited Egypt this month and he invited our president Abdel Fattah as-Sisi to visit Azerbaijan during the meeting with our Prime Minister, Sherif Ismayil.