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French Version

Paris keen to bolster dialogue and cooperation with Cairo

French FM holds talks with Mubarak during one-day visit

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, during a one-day visit to Cairo. "I reiterated our desire to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between our two countries, particularly in the economic field," he said after meeting Mubarak.

He extended a message from French President Jacques Chirac, who had been scheduled to visit Egypt before being hospitalized earlier this month.

Just before meeting the top French diplomat, Mubarak held talks with UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, who confirmed a report on Hariri murder would be submitted to the Security Council at the end of October.

Douste-Blazy held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmad Abu al-Gheit and Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, the head of the Al-Azhar Mosque.

After the meetings, France's leading Muslim official who accompanied Douste-Blazy in Egypt, voiced his concern over the terrorist threat in France.

"I am observing with great concern the events that reveal the existence of a terrorist project in France," said Dalil Boubakeur, who chairs France's Muslim Council.

A cell of alleged militants linked to an Algerian Islamist group was dismantled earlier this week in France. Its alleged leader, Safe Bourada, spent six-months of last year in Cairo.

When asked about Islamist networks originating in Egypt, Boubakeur said: "Everything is possible ... but it is clear that the Egyptian religious authorities, including the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, do not tolerate such a form of Islam."

Paris,10 03 2005
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The Daily Star
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