China's president to visit Egyptian parliament Wednesday

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 19 Jan 2016

As part of his tour of Egypt beginning Wednesday, President XI Jinping requested that he pay a visit to the country's new parliament

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has requested to visit Egypt's newly formed parliament during his two-day trip to the country this week, speaker Ali Abdel-Al disclosed in a meeting with MPs on Tuesday.

"By paying this visit, I think the Chinese president wants to send a message to the world that China is supporting Egypt and wants to build a strategic relationship with it at all levels," said Abdel-Al.

According to Abdel-Al, the Egyptian parliament – the House of Representatives – is also expected to receive a number of high-ranking figures from around the world in the next few days.

"We expect to receive China's president during his visit to Egypt this week and this will be the first visit of its kind, marking the historical relations between Egypt and China," Abdel-Al said, adding that "the speaker of the Russian Duma, Sergy Naryshikin, will also visit Egypt to express congratulations on the election of a new parliament in Egypt."

According to Abdel-Al, the visits of president of China, the speaker of Russia's parliament, and president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union reflect how world leaders and politicians have welcomed the latest political developments in Egypt, particularly the election of a new parliament.

"I am afraid that some at home don't appreciate these developments as highly as foreign leaders and parliamentarians," said Abdel-Al.

On Saturday, a delegation from the British House of Commons met Abdel-Al and discussed issues related to terrorism, the status of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation in the UK, and restoring British tourist traffic to Egypt in the near future. The British delegation also met with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

Abdel-Al also indicated Tuesday that president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Saber Chowdhury, will also meet with him very soon to discuss the full resumption of relations between the Egyptian parliament and the IPU.

Abdel-Al said Chowdhury sent him a message which spoke highly of the democratic parliamentary elections which took place in Egypt last year.

"The message also stated that Egypt is one of 22 Arab countries which are members of the IPU and that it was the first Arab country to join the IPU in 1924. Its role in the IPU has always been active, not to mention that its speakers were elected presidents of the IPU many times, the last of which was between 1994 and 1997," Abdel-Al said.

Chowdhury is currently visiting Egypt and he met on Tuesday with speaker of the Arab Parliamentary Union, Ahmed Al-Garawan, at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo.

Abdel-Al said at the end of the morning session that Chowdhury will also visit the House on Tuesday and that he will attend a part of the evening plenary sitting.

He also indicated that he has received phone calls from speakers of the Pan-African Parliament (Monseir Roger Nkodo) and from Al-Garawan on behalf of the Arab Parliamentary Union, congratulating him on his election as speaker and expressing their wish to meet him very soon.

Abdel-Al told MPs that Nkondo informed him that he will visit Egypt this month to congratulate him and congratulate President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on completing the country's three-part political roadmap by electing a new parliament.

Abdel-Al seized the morning session to defend parliament's endorsement on Sunday and Monday of 248 laws that have been passed since the implementation of the Egyptian constitution in January 2014.

Abdel-Al indicated that another 93 laws must be debated and voted before 25 January so that parliament can meet the obligation stipulated by article 156 of the constitution which states that all presidential decrees (341) passed between 16 January 2014 and the end of 2015 must be reviewed by parliament in 15 days.

"If we failed to meet this obligation, the entire legislative and constitutional structure of this state would collapse," said Abdel-Al. 

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