Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi arrived Sunday in the Portuguese capital Lisbon for his first official visit to the country following the inauguration of Marcelo De Souza as president in March.
On the three-day visit, President El-Sisi is set to meet with his Portuguese counterpart, the prime minister, the parliament speaker, in addition to the heads of academic, economic and international institutions.
He will also attend meetings with Portuguese businesspersons on boosting investments in Egypt.
Several Portuguese companies have shown interest in taking advantage of investment opportunities available in the Egyptian market, especially after the latest economic measures adopted in the country; mainly the liberalisation of the local currency’s exchange rate, said Portuguese ambassador in Cairo Madalena Fischer.
Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef Said in a statement that President El-Sisi gave an interview with Portugal state news agency LUSA where he conveyed a message of appreciation and respect to the state of Portugal, pointing out the visit is a first for an Egyptian president in 24 years.
El-Sisi assured Egypt's wish to enhance economic ties with Portugal, adding that trade between the two countries increased by 38 percent in 2015.
Congratulating the Portuguese people on the election of Antonio Gutierrez as the new secretary-general of the United Nations, El-Sisi praised the balanced and rational stances of Portugal toward the political situation and developments in Egypt.
During the interview, El-Sisi said that Egypt represents a role model of religious tolerance and mutual existence and conveyed his administration's keenness to endorse the principles of human rights and equality.
El-Sisi also mentioned his meeting with Pope Francis in 2014, where he expressed his personal respect for the head of the Catholic Church and invited him to visit Egypt.
President El-Sisi also highlighted Egypt's counterterrorism efforts in North Sinai, stressing Cairo's efforts to balance between maintaining the country's national security and preserving democracy and human rights.