Australia supporting Egypt’s historical democratic transition
Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed Australia’s constructive relationship with Egypt during a farewell call by Ambassador of Egypt Omar Metwally on 20 August in Canberra.
Senator Carr said he thanked the Ambassador for his personal contribution to building a stronger relationship between Australia and Egypt during his term as Ambassador, especially following the dramatic political transition in Egypt in early 2011.
“Australia has shown strong support for Egypt’s historic democratic transition,” Senator Carr said.
“Australia has developed a $20.75 million assistance program in consultation with Egypt focused on the priority areas of agricultural capacity building, food security, job creation initiatives, mine clearance and electoral support.
“I congratulated the Ambassador on the election of Dr Mohamed Morsi as Egypt’s first civilian President and the appointment of Dr Hisham Kandil as Prime Minister.
“We discussed recent political developments in Egypt, and the need to press ahead with the important work of developing a new constitution.”
Senator Carr and Ambassador Metwally discussed issues confronting Egypt’s Coptic community, and the problem of sectarian violence including recent unrest in Giza.
“I welcomed President Morsi’s undertaking to be President for all Egyptians and told the Ambassador we looked to Egypt’s new constitution to protect and promote the fundamental rights of all Egyptians, including the freedom of religion,” Senator Carr said.
Senator Carr took the opportunity to seek the Ambassador’s assistance in ascertaining the status of investigations by Egyptian authorities in a case involving Australian citizen Austin Mackell.
“I told the Ambassador that while we respected the judicial processes of other countries, we would continue to press for clarification of Mr Mackell’s case,” Senator Carr said.
“I also told the Ambassador I looked forward to visiting Egypt in the near future to meet my counterpart Foreign Minister Amr and discuss practical ways of further strengthening our cooperation and relationship.”