India, Egypt should work together for UNSC reform: Modi

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India and Egypt must work together on reforms to UN Security Council as cooperation in counter-terrorism and agriculture figured in many of his bilateral meetings with visiting African leaders who had come to take part in the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).

Briefing about Modi’s meetings on Thursday with 10 African leaders including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the Egyptian president had agreed as a goodwill gesture to release two Indian prisoners who had been in jail in Egypt for 16 and 22 years.

He said the two will be extradited to India under the transfer of sentenced persons agreement.

Modi thanked the Egyptian president for attending the summit, saying it would have been incomplete without his country.

Modi said there was need to isolate all types of terrorism and called for finalising comprehensive convention against international terrorism.

He congratulated Sisi on Egypt becoming a non-permanent member of security council and said “we must must work together for United Nations Security Council reform to obtain permanent seats for Africa and India”.

Modi said India could assist Egypt in areas such as agriculture, human resources and dairy.

The two leaders also discussed situation in the Middle East and the need for more active cooperation in “counter-terrorism”.

It was Modi’s second meeting with the Egyptian president in two months.

Sisi said that though the summit was coinciding with parliamentary polls in Egypt, he made it a point to attend the “very important occasion”, noting there were very sound historical foundations of ties with India and he wanted to take them to a much higher level.

He referred to Indian investments in Egypt and said his country would welcome more joint ventures.

He sought more close cooperation in political, economic, security and defence areas.

Modi also met Moroccan King Mohammed VI and agreed to his suggestion of forming a high-level joint commission. The king invited Modi to visit his country.

There was dicussion on UNSC reforms in Modi’s meeting with Namibian President Hage G. Geingob, who held that “powerful countries like India should be in the Security Council”.

Modi also met Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Mauritanian President Ould Adbel Aziz, Angolan Vice President Manuel Domingos Vicente, Tanzanian Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal and and Comoros’ President Ikililou Dhoinine.

Modi had bilaterals with 19 African leaders on Wednesday and continued these meetings on Friday. IAFS, which saw participation from all African countries including 41 heads of state and government, concluded on Thursday.

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