Mahlab begins African tour by visiting Chad
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab arrived Thursday morning in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, to begin his tour of Africa over the next two days, which includes a visit to Tanzania.

This tour represents Mahlab’s first foreign visit to other African countries since he took office last March.

The ministers of housing and agriculture and the deputy foreign minister for African affairs will accomoany Mahlab during his trip.

The Cabinet said Mahlab’s visit comes in the framework of Egypt’s keenness to develop the bonds of cooperation and friendship with its African brothers and to boost Egypt’s role on the continent.

The visit’s agenda includes meetings between the two countries’ high officials in addition to checking on a number of projects implemented by Egyptian companies. The Arab Contractors company in Chad participates in building the Chadian foreign ministry’s building in N’Djamena

Egypt’s Ambassador to Chad Mahmoud Saad told a delegation of Egyptian journalists in Chad that the two countries will sign a memorandum of cooperation, adding that one of them will be for petroleum exploration in the Lourdes basin, which is located on the Libyan border. Egypt is also considering Chad’s offer of exporting petroleum to Egypt.

Saad said there is a demand from Chad to increase the number Egyptian preachers in Chad, who are numbering about 80 which is insufficient.

 Mahlab said in a press statement upon his arrival that his visit to Chad is very important as a first step in his tour to other African countries.

Mahlab also said Chad has important relations with Egypt, adding that he will deliver a message from interim President Adly Mansour to his Chadian counterpart, reported Youm7. Mahlab will meet his counterpart and Chadian president Idriss Deby on Friday.

 He further added that the visit will include bilateral talks in the fields of agriculture, agricultural research and livestock in addition to housing related projects.

 Mahlab said he will also emphasize the need for reinstating Egypt’s membership in the African Union which was suspended on July 5 in reaction to the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi.

 Additional reporting by Hend Mokhtar.

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