M’sia, Egypt considering vax pact


Official visit: Hishammuddin (centre) meeting with Shoukry during the two-day working visit to the North African country.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Egypt have agreed to collaborate in promoting a sustained post-Covid-19 pandemic recovery, specifically on vaccine cooperation.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said an area of interest to Malaysia was Egypt’s production of Sinovac vaccines for domestic use as well as for export to the rest of Africa.

“This is an avenue for us to explore collaboration in development and vaccine production between both our countries in the future,” he told a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry.

The remarks by Hishammuddin, who is on a two-day working visit to the North African country starting Sunday, were made available to the media here.

This is his first visit to Egypt since being appointed the Foreign Minister in 2020.

Both ministers also discussed the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, which is crucial in reviving tourism, business and education travel, and expressed hope that their respective authorities would follow up with concrete negotiations.

Hishammuddin said he had extended an invitation to Shoukry to undertake an official visit to Malaysia, adding that they agreed to reconvene the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) mechanism to be co-chaired by both ministers.

The last ministerial level JCM was held in Cairo in 2008.

“We have also agreed for our senior officials to convene the inaugural bilateral consultation before Minister Shoukry’s upcoming visit.

“The bilateral consultation will undertake a thorough assessment of where we are in our collaboration (and) explore avenues for intensification, including identifying areas of deliberation for both ministers to agree on,” he said.

Hishammuddin said he and Shoukry agreed to intensify efforts to bring more Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-based products into Egypt’s market, adding that the country was one of the biggest importers of Malaysian palm oil in the African region.

Malaysia, he said, viewed Egypt as a gateway for its exports to the rest of the African region and in turn, offered to export Egyptian goods and services through Malaysia.

“We can assist in opening the doors for Egypt to Asean to capitalise on the group’s population of over 620 million people in South-East Asia,” he added.

He also thanked Shoukry for inviting the Malaysian private sector to take part in Egypt’s various economic development projects such as the New Administrative Capital and the Suez Canal Economic Zone projects.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia would also cooperate with Egypt in channelling Malaysia’s humanitarian and medical assistance, including from non-governmental groups, to Palestinians in Gaza through the Rafah Border Crossing.

“The way forward now is to provide unimpeded humanitarian assistance and focus on the reconstruction of Gaza,” he said, expressing Malaysia’s sincere appreciation towards Egypt for its role in brokering an immediate ceasefire between Palestine and Israel in Gaza, which came into effect on May 21.

Hishammuddin also commended Egypt’s swift response towards the situation in Gaza, including the opening of the Rafah Border Crossing to transfer injured Palestinians for treatment at Egyptian hospitals, the sending of humanitarian and medical assistance, as well as the initiative to reconstruct Gaza through a US$500mil (RM2.07bil) allocation.

On Sunday, Hishammuddin paid a courtesy call on Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, during which they discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, as well as on international and regional issues of mutual interest. — Bernama

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