INTERVIEW: My priority is strengthening ‘already robust ’ bilateral relations with Egypt - Mexican ambassador

Amr Yehia , Saturday 16 Mar 2024

Mexico’s Ambassador to Egypt Leonora Rueda said in an exclusive interview with Ahram Online that Egypt is a fundamental actor in the international system, with particular relevance in the regional sphere and on various topics on the global agenda.

Mexican Ambassador

 

Ahram online: You assumed your duties in Egypt a short time ago. What are the priorities on your diplomatic agenda in Egypt? 
 
Ambassador Leonora Rueda: Sixty-six years ago, Mexico and Egypt established diplomatic relations. Since 1958, the two countries have developed strong ties of friendship and cooperation characterized by dynamic collaboration in various areas of common interest: the strengthening of political dialogue and the international agenda, the review of the state of trade and investment exchanges, as well as their promotion and, of course, with a prominent place, the field of culture, education, and development.

Egypt is a fundamental actor in the international system, with particular relevance in the regional sphere and on various topics on the global agenda. Its geostrategic position, belonging to Africa and the Middle East, positions it as a natural bridge in the region, and its capacity for influence and leadership has made it the permanent host of the League of Arab States.

My tenure in Egypt is dedicated to strengthening the already robust ties between our nations. The priorities on our diplomatic agenda include enhancing bilateral relations in political, economic, and cultural exchange. The goal is to build a partnership that benefits our two countries and contributes to our people's well-being.

AO: Political and diplomatic relations enjoy high level of cooperation. Can you shed lights on  bilateral coordination in international and regional issues? 

LR: Since 1997, Mexico and Egypt have had a Political Consultation Mechanism that meets periodically to exchange information and analyze the progress of the bilateral relationship. To date, ten editions of this fruitful dialogue forum have been held.

Mexico and Egypt are committed to addressing international and regional challenges through dialogue and cooperation. We actively coordinate our positions and support each other in various international forums, including the United Nations, on crucial issues such as combating terrorism, climate change, migration, nuclear disarmament, and promoting human rights, demonstrating our joint commitment to contributing positively to global affairs.

AO: What is your country's vision for ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the necessary steps for the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights?

LR: Mexico reiterates its deep concern over the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe that the hostilities in this conflict have caused, especially the death of thousands of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure.

In January of 2024, Mexico and Chile referred the situation in the State of Palestine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation into the probable commission of crimes within its jurisdiction. This action is due to the growing concern over the latest escalation of violence, particularly against civilian targets, and the alleged continued commission of crimes under the Court's jurisdiction, specifically since the 7 October, 2023 attack carried out by Hamas militants and the subsequent hostilities in Gaza.

Additionally, Mexico welcomed the ruling on provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel).

Mexico advocates for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Gaza, guided by international law and United Nations resolutions. The Government of Mexico reiterates its support for a two-state solution, believing it to be the only political, comprehensive, and definitive alternative to the conflict.

AO: What about economic and trade cooperation between Mexico and Egypt? What measures are being taken to enhance trade and investment flows between the two countries?

LR: In the economic sphere, Mexico takes pride in being the first Latin American investor in Egypt. CEMEX Egypt leads the list by participating in various infrastructure projects while fulfilling its social responsibility by collaborating with Egyptian authorities and civil society in recycling waste from the Nile River. Similarly, the company Polímeros Mexicanosis consolidating its plant in Alexandria. Concurrently, companies such as Ruhrpumpen, Kidzania, and Aqualiaremain are successful examples of joint ventures.

At the same time, the growth of Egyptian companies in Mexico has also been witnessed. The PICO/Cheiron conglomerate develops a productive public-private partnership with Petróleos Mexicanos in Mexico, allowing them to exploit oil fields jointly. The company Sewedy Electrometer continues its efforts to establish itself more broadly in our country.

This bidirectional flow of investments is a testimony to the mutual trust between our nations, creating economic and social opportunities between the two countries.

We must work more regarding the trade issues. It would be very interesting if both countries could advance in some cooperation areas to facilitate the exchange of products that could even detonate other activities, like the food industry.

AO: Both countries have significant historical and cultural weight at the world level. What about the two countries' cooperation in tourism, culture, and archaeology?

LR: Given the ancient character of both countries' civilizations, it is natural that cultural exchange is the cornerstone of our relationship. Over the years, we have leveraged this vein by sharing the knowledge of our respective cultures and traditions in their wide range, including their worldview, art, gastronomy, music, and literature.

The embassy of Mexico promotes activities aimed at promoting the cultural diversity of our country with initiatives that contribute to the already bustling cultural life of Egypt, strengthening its presence.

These exchanges have enriched our societies by deepening our appreciation for each other's cultures, generating interest in getting to know each other more, and creating new communication channels.

Collaboration in archaeological research and the preservation of cultural heritage sites is also a priority, with both countries looking to share expertise and foster mutual understanding and appreciation of our rich histories. An example of cooperation is the Mexican archaeological mission that has been voluntarily in Luxor for 18 years on an ambitious project that will soon reveal the fruits of its collaboration.

We are exploring joint initiatives to promote tourism exchanges highlighting our ancient civilizations. Recently, the Mexican minister of tourism and the Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa had a bilateral meeting to foster cooperation in the tourism sphere.

Short link: