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National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Khalid Ibrahim Emara, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Republic of Bulgaria

On the 23rd of July, in commemoration of the "Revolution of 1952", the Egyptian people celebrates the day marking the beginning of the road to national independence and modernization of the Egyptian nation. This popular revolution still represents a driving force for the pursuit of a better future for millions of Egyptians despite all the different challenges faced along the way.

Over the course of history, the Bulgarian civilization, as one of the oldest civilizations in Europe, and the Egyptian civilization enjoyed many opportunities of contacts and exchanges. They contributed to the human civilization at large, and shared common heritage, which still stands witness to the historical ties that extended till modern times. Furthermore, the historical experiences and the deep-rooted civilizational interaction allowed the two peoples of Egypt and Bulgaria to benefit from the accumulated wisdom of their ancestors, and to project their knowledge and share their respective experiences for the benefit of their larger regions and the world.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries over 90 years ago, Egypt and Bulgaria developed stronger ties of friendship based on mutual respect, common values and shared interests. Both countries continue to acknowledge the important role of one another. On the one hand, Bulgaria is a leading country in the Balkans, as well as an active member both in the European Union and NATO. Egypt, on the other hand, is a major regional power in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the African continent.

In recent years, the strong political will of both countries leadership came together to create a new dynamic contributing to deepening and expanding cooperation between the two countries. Important bilateral visits were exchanged, including the visit of H. E. the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to Cairo in March 2019, and the visits of H. E. the Prime Minister of Bulgaria to Egypt in October 2018, and January 2020. Moreover, Bulgaria received the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, H. E. Mr. Sameh Shoukry, in November 2018, followed by a visit of the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International cooperation in February 2019, and the visit of the Minister of Tourism of Egypt to Southern Bulgaria in June 2019.

As a practical manifestation of the political will on both sides, these visits witnessed the launching of the High level Governmental Commission, the Egyptian-Bulgarian Business Council, as well as the signing of a number of MoUs that will boost ties in different fields including Agriculture, trade and tourism.

In recent years, bilateral ties saw a period of expansion in which trade relations marked 1 billion USD in 2017 and 2018. Investments are also registering an increase where more Egyptian investors are exploring the possibilities in the wider markets of Bulgaria and the EU in sectors such as construction, agriculture and energy. Bulgarian investors are reciprocating by injecting investments in the Egyptian market.

In Egypt, the country has embarked on a very ambitious economic reform program focusing on enhancing the business environment to attract more foreign direct investments and increase resilience and performance of Egyptian economy and enhance social cohesion. To this end, the Egyptian government since 2015 started the implementation of a national development strategy based on a vision to modernize and upgrade the infrastructure and major sectors of the economy including industry, agriculture, energy and services. In addition, mega national projects are underway to build a new Administrative Capital and 14 other major cities in the different regions of Egypt. The political leadership is not only concentrating on the physical development of infrastructure and the economic sectors, but is also giving high priority to social programs, modernizing education, developing a nationwide health insurance system and multiplying the construction of social housing to satisfy the growing needs of the population.

In these challenging times facing the global community and the international system, Egypt is pursuing a policy that strengthens multilateralism based on collaboration and peaceful interaction of nations. More than ever, the world needs unity and solidarity to face the complex challenges across the borders, particularly to enhance the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once again, the Egyptian embassy in Sofia looks forward to continue and to deepen the longstanding friendship between Bulgaria and Egypt, and to explore all avenues for further beneficial cooperation between the two governments and peoples.