Meeting with the Institute of African Studies of CICIR’s Delegation
On 31st July 2016, the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs held a meeting with a delegation from the China Institutes of Contemporary International relations (CICIR). On behalf of the CICIR, Mr. Xu Weizhong, the Director of the Chinese Institute of African Studies, Mr. Yang Zhiguang, assistant professor, and Mr. Yin Yue, assistant professor, were present.The meeting was attended by Ambassadors/ Ezzat Saad, Mona Omar, Ali El-Hefny, Mounir Zahran, Hisham El-Zimaity and Mahmoud Allam.
The Chinese delegation looked for discussing the following topics to know the council’s vision related to them:
How to understand and promote trilateral cooperation between China, Africa and the European Union?
What kind of role could Egypt play in China-Africa-Europe Cooperation?
Current circumstances in Egypt and China-Egypt relations.
Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad inaugurated the meeting by welcoming the Chinese delegation and emphasizing on the importance of the Egyptian-Chinese relations, particularly after inviting the Egyptian President to attend the G20 meeting in September.
Xu Weizonhong started his intervention by asserting that Egypt became more important in the MENA region. He pointed out that Egypt is regarded highly significant to China; as it has played an important role in Africa-China relations. He stressed that China is looking forward to hear the Egyptian opinion regarding the trilateral relations that consist of the Europe, Africa and China.
Mr. Weizonhong concluded his remarks by asserting on the importance of enhancing the security and peace keeping issues in Africa. He mentioned that two conferences were held in Africa addressing the security cooperation and they are planning to hold a third conference about protecting the Chinese projects in Africa.
Ambassador Saad affirmed that there are several fields considered prosperous for cooperation not only on the bilateral level but also on the trilateral level (Egypt- China – Africa), through supporting the activities of the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development (EAPD). Also, he suggested that cooperation can take place in the fields of agricultural, health care and scientific research in Africa.
Ambassador Saad asserted that China needs to be cautious when dealing with trilateral relations as it might find difficulty setting up general rules upon which the trilateral relations can be launched. Furthermore, by taking this initiative, China will be putting itself in parallel with ex-colonial powers. As a consequence, African countries can perceive China’s stance as similar to the traditional European powers; reviving a history that was not the brightest in the African memory. In this context, China’s proposed trilateral relations can be mistakenly regarded as a form of exploitation of the raw materials of the continent.
To conclude, Ambassador Saad pointed out that there are areas in Africa within which China could cooperate with donor countries and Egypt can play an important role in this kind of cooperation. He also confirmed that trilateral relations should not be an alternative for bilateral relations between the two countries.