Hundreds of Egyptians will visit Israel this year to learn farming techniques, despite a cooling of political ties between the two countries, Israel's ambassador Zvi Mazel said here Wednesday, march 28.
"Everything being done (in agricultural cooperation) has nothing to do with politics," Mazel told AFP as the Israeli-Egyptian agricultural commission held its annual meetings in Cairo.
Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv on November 21 to protest the Jewish state's "excessive use of force" in putting down the Palestinian uprising.
"There have been relations between the two countries for more than 20 years and they have developed," Mazel said. "In irrigation and agriculture projects, thousands of people are involved, and agriculture is a very important field for both countries, which need to feed their populations," he added.
The agricultural training program "allows every year several hundreds of young Egyptians to train for several weeks in Israel in the field of horticulture, and this is continuing," Mazel said.
Egyptian Agriculture Minister Yussef Wali attended Tuesday's opening of the commission's meetings which are held alternatively in Israel and Egypt, with a dozen experts and officials representing each side.
Among the areas of study are the "use of brackish waters for commercial horticulture," the ambassador said. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)