Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal (Photo: Al Ahram)
The speaker of Egypt's House of Representatives, Ali Abdel-Aal, and the speaker of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, discussed bilateral relations and parliamentary cooperation at a meeting in Cairo on Sunday morning.
According to a press release, Abdel-Aal described the meeting as a reflection of the historic and deep-rooted relations between Egypt and Austria. "Speaker Abdel-Aal presented a review of the role and make-up of Egypt's House of Representatives, as well as the legislative agenda which MPs have passed in recent years in economic, social and political areas," read the release.
The cooperation between the government and parliament in the last few years has led to a dramatic improvement in Egypt's economic and investment climate, the speaker said.
"Egypt is now highly attractive in all areas of investment, and tops Africa and the Middle East in terms of direct investment inflows," said Abdel-Aal.
He also indicated that cooperation between parliament and the government led to eliminating the negative phenomenon of illegal migration.
"A law combating illegal migration was passed by parliament, and more than five million refugees now live in Egypt and enjoy all citizenship rights," said Abdel-Aal, arguing that "in this way, Egypt contributes to preserving the security of Europe, and that in this respect Egypt differs from other countries which like to use the card of refugees to extort Europe."
The speaker also reviewed the efforts of the parliament and the government in fighting terrorism. "Egypt exerted tremendous efforts to combat terrorism, and control borders in a region rife with bloody conflicts," said Abdel-Aal.
He also criticised Turkey, saying it is transferring terrorists from Syria to Libya in a way which threatens the security of the region and Europe.
Abdel-Aal said Egypt adopts a comprehensive view of human rights. "Egypt observes all aspects of human rights, particularly the rights of socially marginalised sectors, and is keen that these sectors receive high-level education, health insurance, and low-cost housing," said Abdel-Aal, adding that "on another front, the state is doing its best to contain extremism in favour of moderate, tolerant and enlightened religious discourse."
Sobotka said Europe views Egypt as a partner which enjoys stability and economic growth. "Egypt is the gateway for Africa, and so it is wonderful that we see it a secure and stable country, and that its economic growth is moving forward and unemployment rates are falling," said Abdel-Aal.
Sobotka will meet President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Monday morning.