Yet another round

Egypt will once again host the World Economic Forum this month, having managed to deliver a successful round in Sharm El-Sheikh in 2006.
The summit is expected to attract an even larger number of international figures and decision-makers than the 2,000 who attended the event in 2006. Entitled “Learning from the future”, the next gathering will focus on pivotal issues such as the bilateral relations between Middle East countries and the European Union. This comes in the wake of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposed initiative to further cooperation between the northern and southern Mediterranean countries. The forum will also concentrate on Palestinian-Israeli relations, and how best to achieve peace and development in the region.
“Holding the forum for the second time in Sharm El-Sheikh proves the world’s confidence in Egypt’s pioneering role in the region,” said Minister of Industry and Trade Rachid Mohamed Rachid. “It is also “international acknowledgement of the Egyptian government’s success in the economic and political arenas,” he added.
Many observers argue that the successful 2006 round showcased the tourism and transportation sectors’ ability to organise big events, and that Sharm El-Sheikh is an international meeting point.
The forum, in fact, is a means to formulate a scenario for the future of the Middle East and holding a dialogue aimed at drawing a future picture of development in the region. Delegates will also debate energy issues in light of sky-rocketing oil prices, as well as finding alternative energy sources.
Other topics of discussion will be how best to support negotiations on world trade liberation, in addition to the role of technology in promoting development in the countries of the region.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry said that a Middle East summit meeting could be held on the sidelines of the forum. Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki did not say who might take part in the summit but the official Middle East News Agency said the idea was to have U.S. President George W. Bush and Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders talk about Middle East peace.


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