Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed Egyptian leadership on Syria and praised President Mohamed Morsi's recent condemnation of the Assad regime.
Senator Carr was speaking following talks with the Egyptian President and with Foreign Minister Amr today in Cairo (overnight September 4-5 AEST).
In particular, Senator Carr applauded Egypt's initiative to bring together Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in a four-country proposal to break Syria's political deadlock.
"Egypt's new democracy is historic," Senator Carr said.
"Australia was an early and strong supporter of Egypt's democratic transition. And we're supporting that transition with more than $20 million in assistance for agriculture, reducing youth unemployment and the elimination of land mines."
Senator Carr and President Morsi also discussed strengthening the trade and investment relationship between Australia and Egypt.
"Australia has significant expertise in areas of importance for Egypt including mining, dry-land farming and education," Senator Carr said.
President Morsi expressed a desire for increased tourism from Australia and further opportunities for Egyptians to undertake post-graduate studies in Australia.
On the Middle East peace process, Senator Carr said he and President Morsi discussed the need for a two-state solution.
Senator Carr also spoke of the large number of Egyptian Coptic Christians living in Australia, their continued links with Egypt and concern with violent incidents against Copts during Egypt's revolution. President Morsi told Mr Carr he would be a President for all Egyptians and that he was looking forward to Coptic Christian participation in Egypt's future Parliament.
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