OTTAWA, Canada, January 16, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today concluded his visit to Egypt, during which he met with Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Mohammed Ahmed El-Tayyib, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque.
“Canada believes that a moderate, democratic and prosperous Egypt will be key to the success of the region, especially at a time of growing regional and security challenges,” said Baird.
This is the second visit Minister Baird has made to Egypt within the last year, with the aim of advancing Canadian foreign policy interests and supporting social and economic development. It also provides the opportunity to again raise consular issues, particularly concerning the journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
“We have had good discussions with the government on this case, and we are working toward seeing a constructive resolution,” said Baird.
“We also recognize the important role played by Egypt as a seat of moderate Islamic scholarship and a centre of Eastern Christianity,” Baird said. “The protection of religious freedom is essential to maintaining that role.”
Baird reaffirmed Canada’s support for Egypt’s continued transition to democracy ahead of the legislative elections in March and announced several initiatives to encourage stability, security and economic growth. While in Luxor, he also announced support for economic growth and the economic empowerment of women and youth.
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