Egyptian Foreign Minister: Czech request for support in UN Security Council candidacy under "thourough consideration"

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg

Relations between the Czech Republic and Egypt were the focus of a brief visit by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit visit to Prague on Wednesday. During his stay in the Czech capital, Mr Gheit met the Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the head of the Senate Premysl Sobotka as well as Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Topics covered included possible Egyptian support for the Czech' candidacy for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat.

Jan Richter talked to the Egyptian Foreign Minister and began by asking what the main topics of the talks were.

"We discussed two issues. We talked about bilateral Czech-Egyptian relations and we expressed our satisfaction but also the need to put more effort and more energy into them. We would like to increase the level and the volume of trade, of investments and of tourism because the potential is there. That was the first part of our discussion. Then we engaged in a regional discussion where we covered issues related to the situation in the Middle East, the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, the Iraq scene and the issue of Lebanon. Darfur was also among the issues we touched upon. The Czech foreign minister also briefed me on the general situation in Europe, we specifically talked about Kosovo."

What is the position of Egypt concerning the non-permanent seat in the Security Council of the United Nations? Did Minister Schwarzenberg mention that as well?

"He mentioned that when we met in New York. I responded by telling him that the Czech request is under very thorough consideration and it is given our attention. Generally, we do not reveal how we will be voting for the Security Council's non-permanent seat. That is possibly amongst the very few elections that are carried out in the United Nations and we do not reveal our position."

What is the attitude of Egypt towards the possible positioning of an American-operated anti-missile base in the Czech Republic?

"That is an internal Czech matter: it is NATO-related issued that has regional aspects in relation to the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic's neighbours. And as such, I will not give my opinion on an issue that is directly related to NATO, Russia, the Czech Republic and its neighbours."