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    Egypt-Russia trade grows 50% in 2007 to $2.1 bln

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    Egyptian-Russian trade grew 50% year on year in 2007 to $2.1 billion, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Sunday.

    CAIRO, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Egyptian-Russian trade grew 50% year on year in 2007 to $2.1 billion, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Sunday.

    The Egyptian president made this statement on the eve of his visit to Russia, which will take place on March 24-25.

    "Visits at the highest level gave a strong impetus to bilateral cooperation," Mubarak said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

    According to the Egyptian president, 1.5 million Russians visited Egypt last year, allowing Russia to take the first place in terms of the number of tourists visiting the North African country.

    "There are big opportunities for expanding cooperation in the sphere of trade, investment, energy and tourism between our countries," Mubarak said.

    During his visit to Russia, the Egyptian president is expected to sign a framework agreement on bilateral cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy sector.

    A source in Egypt's electricity and energy ministry earlier said the document will lay the foundation for nuclear energy cooperation between Egypt and Russia and will strengthen relations between Russian companies and Egypt.

    Nabil Rashwan, an expert on Russia, earlier said that the agreement would allow Russia to build nuclear power plants in Egypt, train Egyptian personnel and supply nuclear fuel, adding that cooperation with Russia was more advantageous than with the U.S. that imposed tough restrictions, including regular inspections and control.

    According to Rashwan, the U.S. is pressurizing Egypt to place its nuclear program under U.S. control to protect the security of Israel.

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