June 17, 1998
"President Hosni Mubarak yesterday released a new initiative to scrap weapons of mass destruction in general and nuclear weapons in particular from the entire world," Information Minister Safwat Al-Sherif said.
Emerging from the final round of talks between Mubarak and the visiting Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Sherif said: "President Mubarak has declared a new initiative to free the entire world from the weapons of mass destruction in a bid to save the humanity.
He asked the United Nations General Assembly to give attention to this initiative and to seek an international conference for the world countries that are eager to rescue humanity and protect the coming generations from destruction," Sherif added.
He told reporters that an Egyptian-Belarussian joint commission was set up to supervise the development of the bilateral ties and joint projects. Following the two leader's talks, the two countries signed a host of joint cooperation accords that covered diplomatic, educational and tax cooperation between Cairo and Minsk.
Later in the day, Egypt and Belarus signed aviation, information, medical, agricultural and economic cooperation protocols. The two countries also stressed the need for creating new international order for collective security to maintain world peace.
In a final communiqué issued after the Presidents talks, the two countries also voiced support to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and urged the world to help "Libya and Iraq to resume their regional and international roles without obstacles."
The settlement of the Iraqi and Libyan issues, the statement said "would help enhance stability in the Middle East and turn it into a region of peace and co-operation." The statement said the Mubarak-Lukashenko talks agenda covered regional and international issues of mutual concern, as well as the efforts needed to promote bilateral ties. It added Belarus appreciated Egypt's role in the Middle East, Africa and among the developing countries. Egypt, the statement said, also hailed Belarus' role in Central and Eastern Europe.
Touching on the international controversy over the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, the statement said that the two leaders exchanged viewpoints over the issue and "agreed on the seriousness of these tests and underlined the need for activating international efforts to scrap nuclear weapons at the international level, halt nuclear tests and place all nuclear facilities in all countries with no exception to the guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."
The two leaders also hailed each other's call to establish nuclear weapon-free zones in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The two countries, the statement said, voiced 'grave concern' over the ongoing 15-month old deadlock in the Middle East peace process and underscored the importance of the land-for-peace formula and the United Nations Security Council relevant resolutions as a basis for restoring the process back on track.
Lukashenko supported a call by President Mubarak and French President Jacques Chirac for holding an international conference to rescue the peace process, the statement said. Egypt, the final communiqué said, welcomed Belarus' decision to open its first embassy in Africa and the Arab region in Cairo and said it intended to "enhance the Egyptian diplomatic representation in Minsk."
In the meantime, Lukashenko praised as "extremely fruitful" his talks with President Mubatak and said that they showed the two countries' identical views over many political issues. Addressing a press conference at the end of his visit, the Belarussian President said that he has invited Mubarak to visit Belarus.
The Egyptian leader accepted the invitation, said Lukashenko, who met during his visit with Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri Speaker of the People's Assembly Dr. Ahmed Fathi Sorour. Lukashenko said that his country was ready to provide Egypt with the necessary technological assistance to enhance various development projects. He also urged the two countries' businessmen to set up joint projects, adding that his country was qualified to promote Egyptian products in other markets of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which groups former Soviet Union republics.
He also vowed that Belarus would increase its agricultural machinery exports to Egypt to help implement the different development projects in the country.
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