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Europe, Egypt agree that Assad must go

BRUSSELS, Sept 13 (KUNA) -- Egypt and the European Union Thursday underlined their commitment to strengthen bilateral political and economic relations following talks between Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso here.
"The conversation was instinct, deep and also in a very friendly atmosphere, " Barroso told a news conference after the breakfast meeting with Morsi.
The two sides agreed that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad must leave.
"We are adamant that Assad should go. There is no more room for Assad in Syria. A President that kills his own people simply does not deserve to be President of a country," underlined the head of the EU's executive body.
"This is completely agreed upon. This is our common opinion. There is no place for a President who is killing his own people," stressed Morsi.
Barroso noted that Morsi was the first democratically-elected President of Egypt and lauded him for choosing Brussels as his first venue of his European visit.
"Egypt can count on the European Union, the European Commission, the European institutions and the EU member states, " said Barroso and stressed that Brussels is ready to work with Cairo to build a strong, democratic , free and prosperous Egypt.
The EU has made available 449 million euro to Egypt for the years 2011-14 to support several sectors in the country and is ready to offer macro-financial assistance worth 500 million euro , provided the agreement that Egypt is currently negotiating with the IMF materalises, he said.
This year the EU will disburse 130 million euro for projects related with job creation, youth employability, and technical and vocational training.
In addition the EU is ready to give a 150 to 200 million euro to support an agreed economic plan.
He also announced the creation of a joint team of Egyptian, EU and international financial institutions called a Task Force which will meet in November to boost investor confidence in Egypt and for talks on a free trade agreement with Egypt.
"We believe that sometimes the image that appears outside of Egypt is in fact not the right image. We believe there is stability in Egypt and there should be confidence in the future of this country" stressed Barroso.
" Egypt is an indispensable partner for the promotion of peace and stability in the region and in the Arab world," he said.
Barroso also condemned the attacks against US missions in Egypt and Libya and also denounced those who use religion to fuel extremism.
"I have the deepest respect for Islam and for all religious beliefs. It is not acceptable the kind of attacks against Islam or any other religion," he said.
On his part, Morsi thanked Barroso and the EU for its support to Egypt in this transitional period towards democracy.
"Egypt has moved towards a real, genuine and new futur. A modern constitutional, democratic state," stressed Morsi and noted that efforts are underway to organize legislative elections to elect a new parliament.
Muslims and Christians are equal before the law and the Egyptian women enjoy more rights now, he said.
He noted that there is anger in Egypt and the Arab world regarding a film made in the US that insults the Prophet of Islam.
" We strongly condemn that and we are against those who launch such provocations and hatred. I can assure you that the American people are also against that," said Morsi.
Morsi said he called on US President Barack Obama to put and end to such provocations and also assured him that US missions in Egypt will be safeguarded and protected.
He said Egypt will work with the EU, the US and the international community to put an end to such provocations and insults in the future.
Morsi said a meeting of foreign ministry officials from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt , the Quartet , met in Cairo this week to discuss Syria and they are expected to meet again soon and coordiantge with the UN -Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
"We want to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria and to the advent of change in Syria," he added. (end).
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